24 Mar 2010

Clearing ‘junk’ ain’t easy.

I’ve been clearing out loadsah ‘junk’ from my storage cupboard recently. I’ve discovered – or re-discovered – that it isn’t an easy task.

It’s largely about old documents and papers. The problem with papers is that at one time they held a lot of meaning. Throwing them out means that you’re throwing out some part of ‘your existence’.. well that may be okay if you want to forget about it completely. Of course, as time moves on those things that once appeared so important fade in importance.

The first problem was that I got caught up reading many letters – personal and professional – that I wrote over 10 years ago. It’s good to catch up with the past. I was so glad I wrote all that stuff because I if you ask me now about those events, they just would not be in my head in such detail. I mean it would be all a very very fuzzy blur.

Next was deciding what to keep and not to keep.

A. Of the ‘keep’ group

  1. what do I scan and shred?
    1. scan soon
    2. scan later
  2. what do I not scan.

A1 was most difficult to decide and would eventually consume most time. It’s easy to end up lumping things into A2 which is really to revert to a situation of keeping the junk occupying space. Most of the stuff in Group A tended to be personal correspondence, but quite a proportion was important professional correspondence. These things might be important for my memoirs.

B. Of the ‘not keep’ group:

  1. which to shred
  2. not to shred.

Group B was easiest overall and B2 was the easiest of the lot.

I did not hatch the above before taking on the task. I’m reflecting on how I approached it and crystallising the main parts of the process.

I wonder how others manage the de-junking of old correspondence.