What to do with all your old personal and financial papers?

The Problem: What to do with all your old personal and financial papers?

Problem - personal papers - what to do?

The Solution: It’s not what you may be thinking. Matt nailed it in the comments below. Here’s a picture to help describe how well it works. There is what would have been a 1 foot tall stack of paper in the bucket so not only is my personal information safe but it sure beats having a couple of gallon trash bags full of shredded paper to get rid of. You don’t need a tool like I made to get good results either. Just find something sturdy enough to use as a stirrer and the paper will breakdown into pulp. It will take a little more elbow grease to get it there but just as effective.

Solution - personal paper turned to paper pulp

The alternative.

Problem - personal paper shredded can still be read and doesn't take much paper to create a huge pile of waste.

Here’s a teaser picture. Any guesses as to how I plan to use it? I made this deadly looking thing from scrap metal I had lying around the garage. You see I’m kind of a pack rat. I keep most everything because I think I will be able to use it later down the road. Well this is an example:

How I Made It

  • The rod section was cut with a hacksaw from what was an old tire jack handle
  • The blades are cut up from sheet metal that I pulled from a 1979 Pinto wagon I dismantled
  • I used my dremel with a metal cutting disk installed and notched out the end of the blades
    so they were flush with the rod
  • I sanded all the metal down and cleaned it with PREP (non-affiliate link) spray in preparation for some welding
  • Using my vise to hold the rod I preheated it with a propane torch you see it is
    much thicker metal than the blades and a weld would burn the blade away before the rod got
    hot enough to take the weld
  • Once the rod was hot I held the blade in place and tack welded it to the rod
  • Repeated the process for the other two blades
  • I let the metal cool down and wire brushed the welds and PREPed (non-affiliate link) it for paint
  • Used a good coat of Self Etching Primer (non-affiliate link) paint as a base and let dry before top coating
    it with the red color you see in the picture
  • Let it dry overnight and used it the next day
  • Worked like a charm mixing up the paper and water into what you see above

Solution - personal paper, hand made tool


  • Gather the papers you want to destroy
  • Find a 5 gallon water tight bucket and fill it half way with water
  • I use waste water I collect in our sink after doing dishes
  • I also collect rain water from the roof which is also free and abundant
  • I tear my paper into quarter sheets as I’m sorting them for destruction
    this helps to speed up the process a little
  • Put about a 3 inch stack of your paper into the bucket
  • Stir the paper around until it is completely covered/soaked in the water
  • Add more paper and continue to stir until the bucket is about half full
  • Cover the bucket and let sit for a week
  • When I come home every night I give it a good stir for a minute or two
  • After a week I take the tool I made (pictured above) and with my drill
    I chop up the paper and water solution until I get what you see above in the bucket

My next problem is what to do with the paper pulp? I have a few ideas but let me know what you think by leaving your comments below.


  1. Matt says:

    5 gallon bucket + water + drill = compostabale paper pulp that degrades in 2 weeks

    • bruceflinn says:

      Matt you are so right. I never liked using a shredder because I could always read some of the data still. The next problem though is what to do with the paper pulp? I’ve got an idea for that but will let everyone give it a go first. Thanks for the comment. -BruceF

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