Friday, September 9, 2011

Christa, Day 26: This Is How We Create Confetti

About a month ago, I spent two lunch hours and one evening shredding papers. No, I am not an evil corporation going bust. I am just a lady who saved bank statements and college transcripts and other documents way past their expiration dates. Mostly because once upon a time, I couldn't just go browsing my bank statement online or log in to see my grades. I am old enough to have read these things on paper. Paper! Can you believe it?

That meant I had a lot of paper. All filed nicely, of course, in a double filing cabinet that some neighbors were years ago kind enough to put out onto the sidewalk for us. But when that filing cabinet was reborn as a bedside table and needed to be carried upstairs, out came all the paper. All. The. Paper. A whole gigantic box full of records that no longer needed to be kept - many of which had my social security number prominently displayed on every last page.

So out came the shredder, and a new resolve not to save paper for paper's sake emerged from the tiny shreds of my former life*. Today's voluntary simplicity item?
Create a simple mail & paperwork system. If you don’t have a system, this stuff will pile up. But a simple system will keep everything in order. Here’s how.
How am I simplifying my dead tree life?

It's sorted immediately. Our mail usually consists of junk. Catalogs we won't shop from. Faux checks from mortgage refinancing companies. Mail for someone named Dorothy Terry who actually lives in our town and used to own our home phone number. Not one, but two issues of Complex magazine every month that one wants or ever even requested. And so on. Everything I need goes to my to do book; everything I don't need goes directly into recycling.

Bills and other pending action papers
Whatever needs paying or some other action is either placed right by my computer or into the pages of the little notebook I carry with me everywhere. Since that notebook is nothing but a to do list, it's easy to remember what needs doing. If there's a piece of paper stashed in there, it means that paper needs my attention. I pay bills as soon as they come in.

These still live in the filing cabinet, but the whole works has been vastly scaled down. I keep P.'s medical records, just because I like seeing how she's grown. A few things from Tedd's school and limited financial information. The cat's vet records. Everything else important but likely not ever necessary goes to the shredder and dies. TO DO: File recent papers.

Vital stuff
Things like birth certificates and so on are kept in the fire safe, locked up nice and tight because I was the victim of identity theft that began in 2002 or so and still appears on my credit report even now. TO DO: Photocopy everything that lives in our wallets and put in the fire safe.

Receipts, lists, etc.
Recycled. Except for the ones that end up in the kitchen dump, which really does need cleaning out so I'll add that to the TO DOs and the ones that end up on Tedd's desk, which I don't touch... and the ones that end up on Tedd's bedside table. So we do get small build ups of paper, but usually all crap and easy to part with.

In other words, paper? Not a problem!

*No kidding - those were probably the last paper documents not in the fire safe to feature my maiden name.

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