I spent the morning sorting through my Inbox. Not my email inbox but my IRL inbox. Yea, it’s a holdout from my office days that I still have a real life inbox. This one has no sense of urgency however, but rather a place to stash papers I want to remember, revisit or read later. Then once in a blue moon I sort through the inbox.
I find several papers that have essentially expired, in that whatever is printed on them has already passed or is no longer valid. Sometimes I find calls for entry that I have already entered , decided against, or with a deadline that has passed. I find papers I should have scanned in the first place, and then I do so, and file away on the hard drive, most likely never to be read again.
I find words of wisdom, which is possibly my largest category of saved papers. Quotes from the Dalai Lama, Sharon Salzberg, Albert Camus, a friend’s poetry, etc. Wisdom quotes have no expiration date! They are always wise words into perpetuity.
In addition I have the bookmark folders on browsers with articles and websites saved to remember and/or to read. There are videos and TED talks to watch and listen to. Then there are the tangible books to read, the stack now measures 7, not counting the minimally 75 on my Kindle. All this is just Too Much Information!
I had one of those mothers who cut out things in the newspaper and mailed them to me. I promised to never do that to my kid and pretty much have stuck to it. I have sent her maybe 3 things in 20 years, so they must have been really important! I knew my mother was doing what every good mother should do, but then when I started receiving clippings about people spinning goat hair in Montana, from my father’s bestie, I knew a line had been crossed. If one cannot retrain their own parent, how can they possibly retrain someone else’s?
I now believe this obsessive saving of stuff to read or remember is the 21st century version of the newspaper clipping mailed by a ‘well-intentioned’ person! The other day it occurred to me, as I was marking yet another article to read in case I ever want to design work on ‘that subject’, that I may NEVER ever read this article. If I don’t have time to read it now, will I read it later? Will I be sitting in my rocker 20 years from now, with nothing to do but read all this stuff? Will any of it be relevant other than the wisdom? Really it is all information overload…TMI.
We are deluged with facts, figures, quotes, commentary, opinions etc. I never was a good reader to start, being a visual learner. So maybe scanning and filing words away on the hard drive is my adaptation to visual learning? I think not.
Perhaps the moral to this little ditty is to stop saving stuff I am never going to read. Read it now, or don’t, but please stop saving it! Besides anything I ever desperately need I can likely Google.
And don’t even get me started on the photographs I’ve scanned…
Judith D Block says
Girl, recycle those “to be read (when)” or ” keep this (why) papers! I spent a chunk of 2020 sifting through countless papers, books, lesson plans,teaching ideas from my teacher days!! I have been retired from that life for four years and have never needed them. I was propelled on this clear-out by my daughter’s comment she and our son would just toss all that stuff when I die, so could I save her the trouble!!@ Let it go, let it go as the oft played Frozen song tells us
Judith… you are right. Our kids will just throw it all out. I can start with my browser bookmarks! TIA.
Martha Ginn says
I think the Pandemic has given us all time and thoughts about cleaning out our stuff. But it is also interesting what our kids/grands want to know. One of my granddaughters gave me a gift that will become a book for her. I receive a question each week to reply to–what was your mother like? where did you go on vacations? what was your favorite toy as a child? These stories are compiled for a year with pictures added if desired. This gives me the opportunity to recall and write memories for her. As far as my folders marked “keepers” and similar labels, I have been shredding these like old bank statements and quilt designs.
Oh, Martha, I love that you are doing this for your granddaughter! My grandmothers did similar books for my daughter when she was little. 😍
Jennifer Sweeney says
Best blog post I’ve read in a LONG time! Hit me where it hurts.
I am a reader and I still could NEVER get to everything I’ve scanned/saved over the years.
Thank you for making me think and re-evaluate.
Lol…my pleasure! This could be hoarding of another genre!😂
I’ve been on pandemic cleaning ever since we were wiping down surfaces with Clorox. It’s so much easier to clean when there is less stuff. Now I’ve become obsessed with getting rid of stuff I don’t use, don’t need, don’t want! When in doubt, throw it out is my new motto!
Why I never saw this before is beyond me! I have downsized nearly the entire house but not the paperwork! Tomorrow is a new day! Thanks Kitty!
Cindy L Kelleher says
Loved this blog post. It reminds me that I have boxes in our attic that haven’t been opened since put there when we moved into this house. Probably everything is mice infested by now, ugh! The point being, we all need to think about what we leave behind for our family to deal with. When my mom passed, I was overwhelmed by all the papers and trinkets to go through and actually felt guilty dumping them, but they had nothing to do with me other than they were hers. I know what might seem important to me, may be thrown out by my kids when I pass. Streamlining our lives might be the best advice. Thanks for the reminder.
Funny how i never equated the paperwork and saved articles with clearing the clutter everywhere else! Duh!