What Should You Do With Old Checkbooks? [+Dispose of Used Checks]



How many times have you noticed yourself with an old checkbook and no idea what to do with it? It’s a common problem many have, and there are several solutions. Some of those options may include donating them, selling them, or throwing them out.

If you need to get rid of used and unused checks, take the proper steps below to protect your security. Take some additional time now to figure out how this problem should be solved in your life.

How Long Should You Keep Old Checkbooks?

A lot of people have checkbook covers sitting around that they may not be using. You may be wondering how long you should keep each checkbook and if there’s a way to streamline your checkbook organization process.

No one can ultimately answer these questions for you because it depends on how long you plan to continue using checks as the primary means of payment.

  • If you’re ready to ditch old paper paychecks for an online account, then old settlement sheets and random canceled checks aren’t going to be very useful, and they should probably be trashed in the next round of cleaning out your closet or junk drawer.
  • There are many advantages and disadvantages to online banking, but the everyday use of checks is a thing of past generations.
  • On the other hand, if you’re still all about paying with cash and checks every week when shopping for groceries and household supplies, then keep those printouts around until the last page has been filled with paid entries. Then stash them away somewhere safe where they won’t get dirty, torn, bent out of shape, or otherwise damaged. Be sure you know places that offer instant online check cashing if you insist on using cash for transactions.

What to Do With Old Checkbooks

There are a lot of things you can do with old checkbooks. Making a list of what you want to accomplish and then choosing the solution that best fits your needs is the first step toward a little bit of peace of mind. Make sure there is no cash left in the account.

If you need to close it, go to the bank to withdrawl or Walmart provided you follow the Walmart check cashing policy for cash.

Leave Them in Your Old House

Older checks get misplaced or forgotten about, but they can be handy if you ever move back into that house or sell it. If the checkbook is in good condition, consider leaving it behind for the next owner.

Familiarize yourself with the steps to cash a check made in someone else’s name. This is especially useful if you’ve ended up with an old checkbook from a family member who has passed away. This way, their financial information can be kept intact and out of circulation until someone needs it or wants to buy it.

Donate it to a Women’s Shelter

Women’s shelters are always looking for donations to help people acquire some necessities like food and clothing. Old checkbooks could come in handy for this. If you don’t think you’ll use your old checks again, please donate them to be put to good use! It doesn’t cost anything to drop off a box full of unused checkbook registers at the local shelter.

Recycle Them

Some people have an easier time with this option than others. If you’re not sure how to go about recycling your books, contact your local waste management company or the nearest grocery store.

You can usually find a collection bin at one of these stores that will allow you to dispose of large amounts of recyclable material for free or at a low cost; all you have to do is haul it there! You might even be able to get rid of checks individually now instead of having to lug around a big box full of them.

Toss Them

People who don’t use checkbooks anymore will usually toss them. If you started using an online bank account long ago and forgot what to do with your last checkbook, throw it in the trash as ordinary people do. See the proper steps below on how to dispose of them.

Hold On to Them

If you want to keep your old checks forever but don’t feel like donating them, then that’s okay. Checkbooks can be stored for years without any real problem. Taking the time to find a safe place for them is everything you need to do here, regardless of what other solutions may work for you.

Just make sure that they’re not taking up space unnecessarily or falling into the wrong hands when they end up tossed around somewhere else in your home (think: pet cages). That way, when they come in handy, you’ll be glad that you kept them.

Use Them to Carry Other Checks

You could also use your old checkbook covers for duplicate checks as well or to carry new checks around with you. If your bank closes and you need to switch banks, what if you don’t have your new checkbook yet? You can use your old checkbook.

Additionally, you can also use them to carry third-party checks around instead of a regular envelope.

Sell Them Online at Auction Sites Such as eBay or Craigslist

If you have an extensive collection, price and post each book individually might be worth your time. Although you might make some money, this option is probably not the most efficient use of your time. Also, checkbooks are bulky and will take up a lot of space in your mailbox during shipping. You’ll need to focus and weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether to go ahead with it or not.

Use Them to Track Receipts

One option is to use each old checkbook register to tally how much money has been spent on what. Then, once a week or so, sit down with all of your receipts and figure out whether or not that money went toward something you need right away or if it can be put toward future expenses. This system will help you stay on top of things for tax season next year.

Save Them For Your Children

After college, students move out and start their careers. Many people have a box full of their old booklets lying around somewhere. It’s up to you to choose whether or not you want to keep your checkbooks in the box permanently, but if you do and they ever need replacement checkbooks later on, then they’ll be glad that you saved their “first” ones safe for them.

Save Them For Special Occasions

Maybe it sounds corny, but you could also save your used books as keepsakes for special occasions like christenings or confirmations. Who knows what else they might come in handy for someday?

Save Them For Use Again

Maybe your debit card declined at a store on a transaction and was temporarily locked, but what if you didn’t have a backup card on hand? Providing a copy of your original checkbook might be what gets you out of this bind.

How to Dispose of Old Checks & Check Carbon Copies

What to do with old checks from closed accounts is a widespread scenario for many.

how to dispose of old checks
Burning Checks Is Often One of the Best Ways How to Dispose of Old Checks

Disposing of old checks and check carbon copies can be as simple as throwing them away, but there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make sure that the check copies don’t end up damaging the environment too much.

If you have money in the account, be sure to find out where to cash a personal check near me and write yourself a check. You can withdrawl the cash in the account and then destroy the checkbooks.

Throwing Them Away

This is probably one of the easiest ways to get rid of old copies. You can throw away carbon copies along with your used checks or trash them in whatever way is most convenient for you. When doing so, remember not to crumple them into balls before you throw them out; it makes them more likely to blow around and stick onto other debris in the wind.

Voiding Checks

You can also void them before you throw them away. Check out the proper way how to void a check correctly. However, this process can be as simple as crossing anything out that you don’t want to use and writing “VOID” or filling in the amount with a big fat zero.

Shredding Them

Another option is to shred them before throwing them away. This way, it will take a lot longer for them to decompose in landfills because they won’t be able to form into larger pieces. If you would instead not purchase a shredding machine to use for this, then it’s perfectly okay to tear the copies up correctly rather.

what should you do with old checks when you move
Shredding Checks is a Popular Option for What to Do With Checks When You Move

Burning Them

You could also burn the copies. This is one of the better and safer options in that it doesn’t create any extra trash for landfills, but you’ll probably want to find a way to burn them outside instead of inside your home. And even then, you’ll still need to ensure that they’re fully extinguished before throwing out whatever is left (just in case).

Steps for Disposing of Checks

If you want security and really protect yourself from identity thieves in the future, then there’s no purpose in keeping checks after a certain point anyway. You always have the option of a cashier’s check vs. a certified check if you ever need one for a financial transaction.

You can dispose of checks by following these steps:

  1. Shred or tear up each check
  2. Place all torn-up pieces into a clear plastic bag and seal it shut
  3. Throw away these bags with your regular trash

If you would rather not keep the torn-up pieces, then make sure to seal them up in a bag and throw them away in trash instead.

Related Questions:

What Should You Do With Old Checks When You Move?

When you move, your old checks should stay with your accounts. If you move them to a new location, it will be harder for your bank to track the history of those accounts and make any corrections or updates.

It would help if you also left the old checks in place because they could have historical value. For example, if you ever need proof of a payment that’s more than a year or two old, having those tiny slips of paper can help show what happened when an important transaction occurred. Shredding them is also a great option.

Which Is Best: Shredding Or Burning Old Checks?

Old checks are sometimes worth money to collectors who like to archive old documents and records throughout the years. This is particularly true in eras where there weren’t computers and online banking, so the physical process of moving money around was used quite a lot.

If there’s any chance that your old checks are worth anything to someone who collects such things, you should go with burning rather than shredding them. Shredding makes it much more likely that pieces could fall off of the documents while they’re being cut up, which can allow information to be read by people who are interested in using some special tools at their disposal.

What Should I Do if I Need Checks After I Destroyed Them?

If you run into this scenario, don’t worry about what you did in the past. You can go out and repurchase them. You could also visit your bank and ask about getting some starter checks to get you by.

Multiple Options For What to Do With Used Checkbooks

If you’re not quite sure what to do with your old checkbooks, then don’t worry. A few great options will help ensure they get the proper disposal treatment, protect your security, and stop them from ending up in landfills or harming our environment.

These include selling them on eBay or Craigslist, donating them to a women’s shelter, recycling them, or throwing them away.

The steps for disposing checks also provide some helpful information about what should be done when moving homes so essential documents like bank statements can be archived without harm.

BG Vance

After starting over financially in mid-life, I decided to share my experience and financial lessons learned with others. I have over two decades worth of professional and personal financial experience helping individuals and families in all stages of life realize their financial dreams. More about me...

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