Summer ShredFest at Oak Crest Provides Downsizing Lessons

Over 5,500 pounds of paper documents securely discarded at realty & moving services event

PARKVILLE, MD---Through the years, it's easy for old documents to overfill file cabinets, folders and desk drawers.  When it is time to sell a house, piles of outdated utility bills, bank statements and tax forms put a cramp on successful downsizing. The process can feel overwhelming, but guests of Oak Crest, the Erickson Living retirement community in Parkville, received a free head start and professional expertise. It all occurred during Oak Crest's Summer ShredFest 2012 on August 17th. Two hundred attendees brought paper bags filled with old documents, safely disposed by ShredInstead, a mid-Atlantic document destruction company and a preferred vendor of the Oak Crest realty & moving services program. In just two hours, 5,500 pounds of paper were destroyed and recycled at ShredFest 2012. Heather Murphy of Towson-based Abilities Network Senior Services provided an overview of general downsizing. Fallston resident Ashley Ruth is the personal move consultant for Oak Crest.  For many people, getting started is the hardest challenge. "Most people retain documents for longer than necessary, leading to clutter," stated Ms. Ruth.  "If you have lived in a house for many years, this type of downsizing is best done in manageable stages." "Pick a room, a file cabinet or even a desk drawer, and begin there.  Organize the documents into years, and set aside those that are no longer necessary," said Ms. Ruth. Ms. Ruth recommends the following time lines for retaining documents: • Bank deposit slips, ATM receipts, credit card receipts: one month until account is reconciled. • Monthly bank statements, credit card statements and utility bills: one year. • Tax returns and associated documentation: seven years. Technology is a welcome asset when it comes to document elimination. "A mobile shredding company can shred at the rate of 6000 pounds per minute," noted Ms. Ruth.  "Think of those hours saved as opposed to utilizing a small shredder.  Also, a trusted company will allow you to witness the documents being destroyed, and many implement standards created by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID)." "Additionally, a computer is a tremendous resource for 24/7 access to bank accounts and insurance policies, for example," stated Ms. Ruth.  "Most companies provide their customers a 'paperless' option so statements are emailed, rather than sent through a postal service.  This not only eliminates clutter, but is also good for the environment.  One ton of recycled paper saves seventeen trees." Most importantly, it is critical to consider identity theft when downsizing.  "Anything to be discarded that contains a name, Social Security number or an open account number should be shredded immediately," stated Ms. Ruth. For more information, Ms. Ruth can be reached at Oak Crest at 410-665-2222 or ashley.ruth@erickson.com. About Oak Crest: Oak Crest, managed and developed by Erickson Living, is a retirement community that provides worry-free living for America's seniors-the country's fastest growing population segment.  Erickson Living's financial value and predictable monthly service fees provide residents across the country financial peace of mind.  Comprehensive health and wellness services, integrated into our continuum of care, lead to demonstrated resident benefits.  A robust complement of resident programs and facilities promote an engaged, fulfilling lifestyle that is reflected in resident satisfaction levels that exceed the industry average.  For more information, please visit www.ericksonliving.com.