Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Just Shred It
The papers that are now gone, testaments to an age before digital, were filed neatly in storage folders that I hauled around without thought. Eventually, after more than a decade of accumulation, the important documents had reached an age of no importance.
It was time to let go.
Did I need a rental agreement from 1998? My name wasn't even on the lease.
Probably safe to shred.
Perhaps the lease didn’t need to be so thoroughly pulverized, but I’d reduced the process of cleaning to two choices: keep or shred.
Those duplicate checks the bank sent by mistake? Shred.
My husband’s taxes from a year before I met him? Shred.
Taxes for both of us for several years after we met? Shred.
Pay stubs, bank accounts statements, receipts, old insurance cards, documents about our first house.
Shred. Shred. Shred. Shred. Shred.
I’ve had my identity stolen, and the initial impetus for shredding these papers was to lessen the likelihood of it happening again. But the process of revisiting the papers was emotional.
I felt that the person who kept such meticulous files had changed, at least in a literal sense. I no longer have the time or inclination to save a receipt from Kinko’s, file it, and lug it to three states and five dwellings.
That temperament and those papers were from a bygone era; one that needed paper and possession.
That thought struck me most when I found a small folder designed to hold business cards. These cards were once valuable--the information was not easily found online, you would not be scanning the card into a computer, or receiving contact information from an email, and the best way to reach someone was still through calling them on an actual telephone on a number not everybody had.
I am not sure when the year 2000 started to feel like ancient history. But the more papers I had to look at, the more the time appeared remote and unconnected.
This week on The Educated Mom we look at our first question for our Summer Series: When can a child walk to a friend's house alone?