So you’ve read about the shifting strata creating mini-avalanches in my home office. These were mounds of stuff that roughly took up 48 cubic feet of space in my home office. It has been daunting to tackle; but I made steady progress this week-end by clearing roughly half of it. I’ve been shocked at The Paper Demons that have been taking up residence in my Mom Cave! Last week, I mentioned the stamps and envelope thing; but there are other Paper Demons:
- Upbringing: My mother is a hoarder, a legacy of the Depression and I learned this behavior from her. My Mom not only saved the receipt, but the original box to a major home appliance that stopped working one day before its 30-year warranty expired. The snarky customer service rep told her that she would only get a refund if my Mom had saved the original box. My Mom got her refund and the last laugh besides;
- Paranoia: I used to think that something bad would happen to an ex-boyfriend or someone else I didn’t like and I would be the police’s number one suspect. I envisioned scenes where the officer would ask,”Where were you on the night of March 8, 1993?” And I would be able to whip out a receipt and playbill and say, “I was at The Shakespeare Theatre seeing Hamlet being performed by Tom Hulce!”
- False Sense of Historical Importance: I envisioned a future anthropologist digging through my stuff and oohing and aahing over the fact that s/he had discovered that I had a Big Mac on January 4, 2012 at 1:15 in the afternoon, effectively forgetting that upon my death, my immediate/closet of kin or a marshall would not care about this and throw it all out way before some historian had a crack at it. I blame this False Sense of Historical Importance upon Anne Frank, who kept a diary of her quotidian routines and inculcated a love of journal keeping and artifact retention in countless little girls, myself included.
- Important Papers: Bank statements, medical receipts, tax-related materials and insurance papers…
- Memorabilia: Ticket stubs, playbills, photographs, personal correspondence (letters and cards), artwork & drawings of my child’s
- School Papers: My child’s report cards, returned homework and tests and, school artwork
- Recycle: Old catalogues, newspaper clippings (heck, even whole newspapers!), lists that were written on index cards…
- Shred: Credit card offers, alumni and Church appeals, receipts that had rather detailed personal information in them
- Trash: Paper with any sort of adhesive on them (Post-It Notes, envelopes), used up and expired gift cards, three-dimensional artwork and artwork created from foodstuffs, food wrappers…
The picture on the left was taken at night (actually at about 4:00 a.m.) and appears a little murkier than the picture on the right, which was taken during the day.