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It’s Purge Time for Your Records

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Closeup photo of a file cabinet filled beyond capacity and overflowing with files and papers

I walked through the records department of our office. I stopped and watched as Alison, one of our staff members, was pushing the edges of file folders down as she desperately tried to close the file cabinet drawer with her shoulder while holding three other bulging file folders in her other hand.

“What are you going to do with those files in your hand?” I asked.

“These? They’ll never fit in here. I’ll just have to pile them on top of these other files on the top of the cabinet for now until we get another file cabinet. We are getting another file cabinet, right?”

No More Space for Old Files

I didn’t have the heart to tell Alison that we weren’t getting another file cabinet because we didn’t have space for another file cabinet, and given how much our office space cost, we didn’t have the budget to use any more for storage, either. I felt like I was caught between a rock and a hard place.

As I passed by Brian’s cubicle, I saw that he was on his break and enjoying his weekly crossword puzzle. “What’s a five-letter word for ‘get rid of’?” he asked me. “It has the letter ’r’ in the middle.”

“Murder?” I replied.

“That’s six letters.”


“That’s it!” Brian exclaimed, penciling the word into his puzzle.

The Answer is “Purge”

I stopped. That is it! I thought. A light had just gone on for me. The answer to my dilemma of having too many files and not enough space was a one-time shredding service. I made a 180-degree turn to head back to Alison and started calling out, “Alison, it’s file purge time!” Alison cautiously poked her head above the stack of files that were nearly sliding off of the top of the file cabinet and stared at me with a confused look.

We sat down and came up with a plan of attack to go through files and start clearing them out. We would request a large, wheeled security bin from our local, reputable shredding company to drop our expired files in. These have a slot to drop files in, but stay locked until shredding is complete.

Once we were finished purging, the shredding company would come back and securely shred everything on site. I also knew this would solve some other records management issues we had, like keeping documents past their retention period. We had been lucky so far with no audits, but I would be happy when those files were gone.

The Benefits of a Records Purge

As I researched one-time purge shredding, I learned about all the benefits. The ones that really stuck out to me were:

  • Efficiency

With the file drawers so jam-packed with unused and out-of-date files, file retrieval becomes very time consuming. Poorly-used time is financially and psychologically expensive. With a one-time purge of our records, we could eliminate duplicate files, combine others, and in the process, make everything easier to find.

  • Risk Reduction

When files are left out of the cabinet, there is a risk that they will be lost, stolen, or seen by unauthorized individuals. By purging old records, the files you do need to keep can be securely stored inside a locked file cabinet instead of laying around in piles.

  • Compliance

A records purge will bring to light files that have passed their retention dates. These can be removed and properly destroyed. This is important to staying compliant with privacy laws. Schedule a quarterly review of file retention dates to ensure that you remain compliant with file retention regulations. You can even request a Certificate of Destruction to prove your compliance.

  • Cost Reduction

When the volume of records is reduced, so is the need for valuable storage space. Office space is far too expensive to use it for unnecessary file storage. You won’t need to purchase additional file cabinets, either. Following the purge, we could implement a regularly-scheduled shredding service to maintain an efficient and compliant records management system.

Wiggins Shredding offers one-time purge shredding and a full range of other shredding services to businesses and residents in Pennsylvania and Tri-State Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware. If you need to purge some files or have shredding questions, call us at 610-692-TEAR(8327) or complete the form on this page. We’re standing by to help!

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