Shredding a life….

As I wrote a few weeks ago, we are moving house.   I have lived in my current residence for almost twenty years.  My two children were raised in this home; their father died here; and I remarried here.  If these walls could talk……

Thankfully the walls can’t talk, but I have mounds of evidence that I no longer need.  I am talking paper trails.  I have been the only constant in the house for twenty years, so it falls my lot to clean up the office.  I am ashamed to say that filing is not my strong suite.  I keep papers in a pile until it threatens to topple, then I head for the file drawers.  I would have bet that on average, I filed about once every six months.

As I am sitting amongst the papers, (manila folders, sharpie, and shredder close by) I am stunned at the dates on some of these documents.  And I haven’t even started to tell you about the backlog of papers in the file drawers.  I am proud to say that the earliest date I have for the papers on my desk was 2004.  I don’t know how I have papers that old in the ‘to file’ pile, but apparently my semiannual shred fest has not reached the bottom of the stack.

As l was pulling old papers from the file drawers, I am met with bank statements as early as 1988.  Why are these statements still in my possession?  For one thing, the bank is an English bank, and we have not lived in England since 1991. Secondly, just how long does one need to keep bank records?

I almost feel that I need to check into a self-help program for hoarders, but I am not hoarding.  On the flip side, I have found long forgotten treasures:  letters of recommendation, certificates of commendation for each of my children, evidence of the Tooth Fairy’s visits, and enough photos to cycle through ‘throw-back Thursdays’ for decades.

It has been quite an enjoyable trip down memory lane, while weeding out the minutia of our five lives.  The things that will not be making the move are the hospital bills from MD Anderson, the assorted bank records, utility bills, mortgage statements (from two houses ago), CVs, and seminar notes.  The love notes, scholarship awards, and photos made the cut, along with the hand full of little ‘chiclets’ that were at one time exchanged for quarters.

This shredding marathon has been exhausting, but the precious memories along the way make the trip worth it.

Until next time,

Dr. Polly