20 Smart Uses For Shredded Paper Around The Home

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Many people use a lot more paper than they should. From printing to scribbling down notes, it’s easy to waste paper without even realizing it.

Finding ways to reuse paper scraps around the home can help folks cut down on paper-based waste and put shredded paper products to good use. 

So before you toss those shredded pieces of paper in the garbage, check out these 20 clever uses for shredded paper around your home.

Paper Clay

One of the many uses for shredded paper is to turn it into paper clay. Paper clay can be used for a number of art projects — for kids or adults.

Protection For Moving Day

Erda Estremera / Unsplash

Use shredded paper to save money on packing supplies. Moving is a stressful experience. Make it a bit less anxiety-inducing by reusing what you have on hand. Instead of tossing papers in the trash, shred them to create protective packing material for your fragile pieces. 

Kitty Litter

uses for shredded paper cat
oddharmonic / Flickr (Creative Commons)

While shredded paper can’t completely replace kitty litter — it’ll absorb some liquid but not funky smells — it’s a great way to pad your cat’s litter box. You can reduce the amount of litter you use by adding an initial layer of shredded paper, and you’ll save money in the long run. 

Add Shredded Paper To House Plant Potting Soil

You can add shredded paper to indoor or outdoor potted plants to improve the condition of the soil. I’m a fan of using bunches of paper shreds to add bulk, so I don’t have to use as much soil to fill my pots.

Related Post: 12 Office Plants To Add Greenery To Your Workspace

This strategy is particularly helpful if you’re on a budget and want to stretch a bag of soil over several containers.

Use Shredded Paper As Kindling

fire pit
Evan Wise / Unsplash

Are you excited to sit by the backyard fire this summer? Unless you have the luxury of a gas-fueled fire pit, it can be tough to get a blaze going. Use shredded paper as kindling to get the party started.

A word of caution: Always check local fire regulations before starting an open-air fire in your yard. If it is allowed, be sure to check fire danger alerts. The risk of forest fire grows exponentially in dry, hot conditions. 


Use shredded paper to create a variety of paper-based crafts. Kids will have fun doing arts and crafts with pieces of fluffy, shredded paper. Check out this super cute craft idea that uses this material to make winter animals.

Packing Material For Christmas Ornaments

How many times have you kicked yourself for storing away delicate glass ornaments without wrapping them in some kind of protective covering? When the holidays are over (I’ll admit), I’m sometimes a little lazy when it’s time for the takedown. I don’t always have packing materials on hand, and by the time the festivities are done, the last thing I want to do is go out shopping for bubble wrap.

Instead of scouring the house for leftover wrapping paper, use the shredded paper in your office shredder to protect ornaments from breakage. You won’t have to open those storage boxes in disappointment next year.

Paper Mâché

Another crafty use for shredded paper is to make paper mâché. If you have kids, no doubt they’ll encounter an assignment or two down the road that requires this kind of technique.

Working with this substance can be messy, but it’s also a whole lot of fun. I fondly remember the art projects of my younger years that involved mixing paper bits with gooey glue. 

Uses For Shredded Paper As Pet Bedding

When you have pets, there are a variety of different uses for shredded paper that you have laying around. Don’t bother buying expensive pet bedding for small animals like gerbils and hamsters. Use shredded paper instead (or mix it with other types of bedding) to save a few bucks. 

Uses For Shredded Paper In Your Compost Bin

And when it comes to gardening, there are even more uses for shredded paper, especially when it comes to soil building. Add shredded paper to your compost bin instead of tossing it out. Don’t throw photo paper in there, though, since it may contain harmful chemicals that won’t do your garden any good. 

Add Filler To Gift Baskets

Are you making a gift basket as a thank you or for someone’s birthday? A bit of filler helps add some bulk and makes the arrangement appear professional. Instead of stuffing it with expensive tissue paper, use colorful shredded paper. 

Uses For Shredded Paper As Packing Material

uses for shredded paper
Hans Braxmeier / Pixabay

If you’re sending goods in the mail, you likely need to add a bit of protection to prevent damage — even for non-delicate items. Padding helps prevent objects from getting warped and bent. Some packing materials are heavier than others and increase the cost of shipping. Paper, however, is lightweight and easy to source. 

Use It For Seed Starting

Use shredded paper to make cheap, homemade pots for seed starting. It’s a bit of extra work, but you won’t have to spend money on expensive and wasteful plastic pots. 

Make Bird Toys With Shredded Paper

If you share your home with a pet parrot, you likely know how much they love tearing apart paper. Make a toy out of shredded paper to entice them to shred it to even smaller bits. 

Give It Away

Assuming the shredded paper you have on hand doesn’t contain any sensitive information, go ahead and give it to others who may find a better use for it. 

Bedding For Nesting Boxes

Use shredded paper as bedding for bird nesting boxes. Whether for breeding parrots or egg-laying chickens, shredded paper is a comfy layer that makes interiors more hygienic. 

Uses For Shredded Paper As Stuffing

Whether you’re making homemade pillows or repairing an old stuffed bear, shredded paper can be used to fluff the insides of soft things. 

Use It As Mulch

Quality mulch isn’t always easy to find. You can use leaf mold, but if your property doesn’t have big trees that shed their leaves every year, you’ll be hard-pressed to find some.

Related Post: How To Mulch For A Beautiful, Weed Free Garden

Straw is one of my favorite kinds of mulch, but it’s not always easy to locate. Cedar chips are great, but they can be pricey. Shredded paper, on the other hand, can be found right inside your home. For the best results, mix your shredded paper with another form of mulch.

Use As A Vase Filler

When displaying fancy silk flowers or other faux flora, you’ll need some substrate to keep everything in place. Shredded paper does the job in a pinch. In a clear vase, use colorful shredded paper pieces for a vibrant effect. 

Uses For Shredded Paper As Confetti

shredded paper confetti
bluebudgie / Pixabay

Whether to celebrate retirement or nuptials, shredded paper is an excellent substitute for confetti. Use it instead of flower petals or rice for weddings. If you’re planning on having a piñata at your next celebration, stuff it with shredded paper and other goodies you want to give out. 

What’s The Best Way To Shred Documents?

A paper shredder in your home office is the most obvious way to shred sensitive documents and other papers, but it’s not the only one. 

Many office supply stores will shred your papers for a fee. Some postal outlets (like UPS) will also shred documents for you. 

If you’re not comfortable bringing your papers to a third party, consider investing in a shredder. It’s the most effective way to destroy documents short of setting them on fire. Not sure what to consider when shopping for a shredder?

paper shredder
Find it at Amazon

Crosscut shredder models are ideal for shredding highly sensitive documents, but they are a little more high maintenance. Traditional strip-cut machines are great for those who plan to reuse the cuttings because they cut paper in long, easy-to-handle strips. When deciding between these two types of shredders, consider the kinds of documents you need to shred. 

If you don’t have a shredder and don’t want to buy one (either for budget or space reasons), there are a few ways to shred documents without one.

  • Shred manually. Ripping apart papers with your hands is free and easy, but it takes a long while, and it’s not ideal for highly sensitive documents.
  • Use special scissors. Multi-cut scissors are a cheap alternative to a high-powered shredder. They can cut papers into multiple pieces in one single snip. 

Can You Recycle Shredded Paper?

No. You can’t stick paper shreds in the recycling bin. The small pieces are tough for recycling plants to handle, so most end up in a landfill. Instead of tossing them into the trash, use some of the above ideas to recycle leftover paper scraps. 

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