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02 February 2009 @ 08:06 pm
23 boxes, 3 crates, 6 drawers and a trunk  
Of papers.  Not counting what's at the office at school.
This is what comes of not filing anything for over ten years.  Well, okay.  Periodically I've filed stuff, but the file folders are in the boxes and drawers too, in no particular order.  And I should go through all of the filed stuff anyway, throwing much of it away and combining duplicates.

So, who wants to bet what odds that I can overcome my packrat genes and burn at least 75% of it?  (Maybe I should offer prizes for whoever comes closest to predicting how much I get rid of?  What should the prizes be?)

First, I need to finish the pile of "do this now" papers, but that's down to a few inches, and mostly consists of the binder for the adoption agency.  Then... what.  Start on whatever box is closest?  

I guess I don't have to worry about kindling for the wood stoves for the rest of the winter.
flarenutflarenut on February 3rd, 2009 03:09 am (UTC)
Idunno. I could go with less than half or 90%.

But then it killed me to throw away almost all of my father's cancelled checks from 1937...
betonicabetonica on February 4th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
re: 23 boxes....
Less than half or 90% sounds very likely, actually.

I will never throw out canceled checks. Hm. Perhaps that less than 50%....

I've made my mother keep all of my grandmother's itty bitty notebooks that she wrote down *everything* she paid for with cash, even down to 2c stamps.
a wind-carried wing: sunrise sunsetaenohe on February 3rd, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
I think you are perfectly capable of overcoming the packrat gene of yours. Take small, manageable chunks.Organize and file them appropriately. Then, take refuse and offal from that procedure, and BURRRN it!

betonicabetonica on February 4th, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
re: 23 boxes....
I'm not sure about overcoming that gene. I do think that if I start with some sort of metric it might help. Like the one when I moved from CA to VT: if it isn't easily replaceable (mostly regardless of cost) and/or isn't of serious sentimental value, give it away. I ignored the rule for tools, but otherwise was pretty good with it.

Papers. Hm. (1) Important legal documents - must keep those. (2) Sentimental value, e.g., letters - keep those. Other stuff (which must be well over 90%) .... I'm not so sure. Documentation of herb classes I taught in 1986? Brochures from herb schools so that I know who's out there doing what? Flyers from the Freight (coffee-house/ folk music venue in Berkeley which I'm a life member of, semi-sentimental value)?

It's going to be a long process.
dr_bratdr_brat on February 4th, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
Re: 23 boxes....
The information in your brochures is likely out of date and available on the web in most cases, I'd say.
betonicabetonica on February 4th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
Re: 23 boxes....
Oh, undoubtedly. I'm thinking of them more as a general resource - that there are those particular 36 people out there teaching, who I worked with ages ago and might want to get back in touch with for some reason.

But, of course, I can come up with a reason to keep just about any piece of paper.

I did just burn the one from the college that said they had my app for the tenure position. Don't need to see *that* piece of paper ever again.
prairierabbitprairierabbit on February 10th, 2009 11:18 pm (UTC)
Re: 23 boxes....
I'm a packrat myself, but most of mine isn't papers. It's "stuff". I intended to work on it, but just after I moved into my house serious parental health issues started to take up much of my free time and I didn't want to spend the remainder sorting. Once I get the living space back under control, I do want to work on the boxes.

Recently, a scanner was suggested for papers in my office and I'm considering that. Have you thought about a scanner? Might be useful where the paper item itself isn't of sentimental value, but you might want the info someday. They are now quite inexpensive, and digital data is much easier to store--maybe good for herb school brochures, or class documentation, etc.?
betonicabetonica on February 10th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
Re: 23 boxes....
That's an excellent idea. I was just thinking that I don't end up collecting quite so many pieces of paper any more, because some of it is all on my computer, instead. And I actually have a scanner, but right at the moment it's decided that the scanning part of it won't. (Copying works, printing from the computer to the scanner/printer works - scanning to the computer does not.) And I have another one, too. But it thinks it's got paper stuck in it (it doesn't) and won't do anything except give a paper stuck message.

So, once I get the technology dealt with, I can work on your excellent suggestion. In the mean time, I can also think about sorting into a scan-and-then-toss pile.

dr_bratdr_brat on February 3rd, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
Having done something similar, yes, start with whatever box is closest. Anything else is procrastinating on the hard part.
betonicabetonica on February 4th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
re: 23 boxes....
Just starting on the box that's closest is proving to be a procrastination point. I do have the two inches of current Do This Yesterday stuff to deal with.... first? And it occurs to me that if I get my current several boxes (they're included above) better organized before I start, that I won't be piling confusion on top of confusion.... Or is that a procrastination technique?

I should just do it. I'm sure it will prove to be a fascinating process. I love old memorabilia.

I might need to wear a mask. I think there's enough mildew in there to set off my allergies. Or is that another procrastination point?
dr_bratdr_brat on February 4th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
Re: 23 boxes....
What would happen if you just disposed of the boxes without going through them?
betonicabetonica on February 4th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
Re: 23 boxes....

No! NO!

Um. I think I'd panic.
Why'd you ask?
dr_bratdr_brat on February 4th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
Re: 23 boxes....
Because pitching boxes wholesale is the least time-consuming. The next least time-consuming is sorting quickly (and brutally) without lingering. If you start fondling every single little bit, well....

I was fairly ruthless this last time because I needed everything to fit nicely into my new office and because most of what I had was information for projects that had become outdated or to which I will never get around, and I needed to clear out the psychic space as well as the physical space.
betonicabetonica on February 4th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
Re: 23 boxes....
I'm thinking about a quick sort into "almost certainly save, but sort later" and "burn now!" That could go pretty quickly.

Of course, then I'd have that first pile to go through a second time. But it might work.

The pitching boxes wholesale is not an option, and not just because of my packrat (hording, possessive, whatever) tendencies. Things like birth certificates, vaccination records, property deeds, etc. are in there. Somewhere. I should be an adult and file them responsibly.

And I have this empty safe-deposit box I inherited from my grandmother, too. Ought to put it to use.

On the plus side (at least for now), I defy anyone to steal an important document from me. They'd have a helluva time finding it - or even knowing whether it exists and, if so, whether it's in any of the various containers to begin with.

I think of myself as a very organized, responsible person. Who knew?

(Deleted comment)
betonicabetonica on February 10th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
Re: 23 boxes....
Plan drafts. I forgot that I have one or two large stacks of drafts of my dissertation in my office. Along with other assorted stuff that needs to be tossed.... but is probably mixed in with important documents. Gah. Glad to do a bonfire, though. Mid-March?