Massive File Contraction

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A few years ago, I had enough files to fill 3 drawers of a filing cabinet. I had stacks of journal articles from doing a master’s, doctorate and numerous research projects. I had copies of talks, deepenings, activities and workshops I’d organized. I had piles of interesting or fun or informative articles to read on a wide variety of topics. I had most of my visa bills, along with the receipts I used to balance them every month.

I slowly weeded over time, but not much. Before baby was born, I got serious. It must have been nesting hormones: I junked piles and piles of paper (many feet!) while watching Gilmore Girls. That got rid of many of the articles, but there was still a lot of stuff. After baby, I gave it another go, and I’ve been weeding ever since.

The last few months I’ve been going through files here and there and junking most of them. Some I scan and save, but most, I’ve realized, are simply not needed. The files in the drawer have been getting slimmer and slimmer.

Today I sorted through a bunch of files I’d brought downstairs. I got rid of a bunch, some to recycle, some to shred. I don’t need another copy of my frequent flyer numbers. I’ve read those inspiring Oprah articles enough times (and besides, I found my husband – I don’t need to read about someone else’s search).

From there, I put them into two contained lidded boxes. But the lids were tight and pushed down the tabs. So I got out one hanging file box (kind of like the boxes people put LPs into) and moved my files over. And I realized that I had done it: I had compressed my files down to one box. Victory!

Also not entire true. We have about a foot of files upstairs that aren’t included. Most of these are house files that we can dump once we are out of this house. Also old tax papers – need to keep, but don’t need to access.

I also have a few stacks of papers. Most of these are for writing projects I still hope to get to (singles research; my master’s; stories about Russia; cognitive strategies in math). In fact, I have a full box for the Russia stories, including photos and memorabilia. I also have a stack at least a foot high of materials for the Kyrgyzstan paper I submitted a few months ago. However, I’m okay with this. These are projects I will be trying to get to in the next year or so. Once the project is done, the papers are gone. I will be back working on the singles paper, I hope, within a month or so. And I may, at some point, simply dump the ones I’m not going to tackle.

That, therefore, is that. The main victory is the one-box filing. The others are more contained, enabling me to move forward with those projects when I can.

Thank you for listening, and happy purging to you too!

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