Shredders Hate Me

I have this “thing” with paper shredders.  If there is a way to jam a paper shredder I have done it.  It sends hubby over the edge if i am shredding something and he hears the sound of a machine slowing down and working with great effort.  And, heaven forbid, he hears the unit just suddenly stop!  He will know that I have done it again – overloaded the shredded.

Well, since I am so very good at managing to overload a shredder, I also have become very good at hiding the fact that the shredder is currently “under the weather” and surreptitiously taking it apart and very quietly unjamming the paper or waiting until hubby is out of the house to put things in order.

I’ve tried to shred paper clips, cardboard, 12 sheets when the shredded clearly says it has a limit of 8, glitter, and all sorts of thicknesses of paper.  Just a couple of weeks ago I shredded return address labels.  We get at least three batches of labels a week and so I put them in the shredder which is something I’ve done in the past without a problem.  Not this time though.  Somehow the sticky things decided to stick to the shredding gizmo and not go down and not come back up.  Ugh.  Then I saw the bottle of lubricating oil we are to use every so often and it came to my rescue.  Dropping the oil rather thickly on the shredder teeth then waiting for 10 minutes did the trick and all was well.

All was well that is until last Friday.  I had a stack of pages with our name and return address on them and so I took the stack to the office and began shredding.  Putting things into the shredder can be somewhat mindless, but I was careful and only put in a couple of pages at a time.  Down to the last page everything went smoothly and then BAM!  The shredder stopped.  Oh rats!  OK. Normal unsticking procedure No. 1. Put the thing in reverse.  It reversed for a second and stopped.  OK. Now put it into forward.  Nothing.  No grinding noise. No paper moving through. Nothing.  Reverse again. Grinding for one second and stop.  Several more tries and no results.

Well, I wasn’t home alone so the mess sat there for a couple of days until I could take a look.  Unplugging the unit I put it on its side, slid out the collector basket and took a look.  I’d managed to try to shred the plastic envelope in which mail order prescriptions are mailed and it had managed to get large portions stuck tightly between the teeth in the center of the shredder. Pulling pieces by hand removed some of the bits. Then I tried pliers.  They worked for a bit but were too large to get between the teeth and pull out what was stuck.

In desperation I got a pair of small tweezers. You know, those small, pointed tweezers for those difficult hairs you don’t want to discuss. Difficult to hold. Awkward to work with. But they were the right size.  It took some time with, pieces coming out in tiny bits and only after much tugging.  Finally, it looked as though all the stuck pieces were gone.  Keeping my fingers crossed I turned over the unit, put the collector basket back in, and plugged in the unit.  I held my breath as I turned it on.

It worked.  A bit slow and grinding a little, but it worked.  Sending a few paper pages through, one at a time, seemed to improve performance.

I do hope I’ve learned my lesson.  After cleaning up this mess I really do not want to challenge my brain to any new ways to clog up a shredder.


Have you had any adventures with a shredder?  Do tell!

Every Day Is A Good Day.  VJ

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