Confession: There are two boxes in the corner of my office waiting for me to sort through them and organize the contents. They are filled with receipts and paid bills and other stuff that I think I need to keep.
Another confession: I have over 4,000 messages stored in my email inbox (My friend Meggin McIntosh--who teaches people how to zero out their inbox everyday– is having a major coronary from reading that, I’m sure).
Although I’m getting better, I know I save way too much information. I laugh when I see those accordion file folders with tabs for each month at the office supply store because my annual collection of paperwork fills a banker’s box or two.
This morning, I was contemplating that when I saw my grandfather’s financial records on my mother’s table after he passed away last winter, I was amazed that everything fit into about six file folders. And my tax accountant brother said that my grandfather’s records were impeccable…those file folders contained information about his banking, savings, investments, insurance, credit cards, copies of his will, etc. Everything my brother and mother needed to know to get my grandfather’s estate wrapped up.
So why was my 96-year-old grandfather able to only have six file folders and I have banking boxes? I’d like to say that the extra paperwork comes from tax-related stuff associated with my husband’s art business and my coaching, writing, and school related expenses. But that isn’t the truth.
The truth is that I hold onto old bills and other paperwork because I think I might need them. And it isn’t a paper versus electronic format thing, either. I hold onto old emails because I think they will contain important information that I will need sometime in the future. As a result, I am overwhelmed with informationitus and, ironically, can’t find what I need when I go looking for it.
My paternal grandparents had one file drawer in their desk for all of their financial records. After checking the Good Housekeeping’s chart on how long to keep important papers, it’s easy to see how they and my grandfather kept everything succinct. I can discard/shred/delete about 90% of what I keep.
Am I the only one who suffers from this malady? Will you join me in clearing out information clutter?