Saturday, May 15, 2010

What Papers to Keep?

Sorry to post twice in a day. Now that I've made it through the purgatorial experience of sorting through the paper closet, I thought I'd sit down and try to think what really needs to be around the house as far as paper goes.

Is it possible to be almost entirely paperless as far as storage goes? Right now I'm not talking about paper use so much as paper archiving. I have so many old papers that I hesitate to throw away even though they are almost impossible to access conveniently the way I have them right now, and also they give me a sense of burdening. They aren't useful or accessible to anyone else in the family, either.

There seem to be two efficient alternatives:

  • Keep the things but make them beautiful and accessible somehow, (you know.... scrapbooks, binders, that kind of thing). It has to be simple though, and worth the "footprint" in the house.
  • Throw the things away (but perhaps keep some sort of paperless record -- photos or scans, typing into computer).
Can you think of any other way? Oh yes, or of course, some combination of the two. That's problematic in that I could see all kinds of decisions having to be made. It might be better to go almost totally one way or the other.

Or, of course there are the complete extremes:
  • Extreme Disposal: Get some trash bags and toss everything in. Goodbye forever.
  • Extreme Default: Keep things just the way they are now.
What I'm thinking now -- tentative plan:

  1. Get everything I really think I might need or want on the computer one way or another -- photo, scan or typing.
  2. make plans to deal with paper as it comes in so that I don't have huge piles in the future.
  3. Maybe have a scrapbook or binder as a representative physical object -- one for each kid -- highlights, so to speak.
IF --IF -- I could deal with papers as they enter the house so that they were available as needed but not always in piles everywhere.... that would take out a huge Household Dragon right there.

Ah, how wonderful that would be! One doesn't realize how something is crushing one until one visualizes life without it!

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I would love to hear your thoughts on this!