Sunday, May 02, 2010

Pack Rat Central

If you ever want motivation to clean or organize, one episode of How Clean is Your House should do the trick. I know I can be a pack rat, but at least I feel like what I have is clean. My counters are wiped down at least daily if not more, and the entire apartment is cleaned weekly. Somehow, though, that whole "dusting" thing doesn't exactly fit into my grand cleaning plan. When we rearranged the living room this weekend, we took a ton of dust off the surfaces. Thankfully we're both already medicated for outdoor allergies that a little dust didn't seem to bother us.

I tried really hard last summer to clean out a bunch of my pack rat habits. The childhood toys were mostly donated. The stacks of books were whittled down and sold or given away. Even my closet was resorted and shucked of unnecessary items. One thing I didn't touch, though, was my financial records. Nobody ever told me how long to keep things, so I just kept everything.


I had receipts for every purchase made by debit or credit card dating back to 2001 when I opened my very first checking account. A receipt for every meal eaten out not paid with cash. A receipt for every fly swatter, roll of toilet paper, and box of cereal. Don't get me wrong, they were all neatly organized and sorted by month along with the corresponding bank statement. I was very responsible in watching my account and making sure I was actually the one spending money by verifying at the end of the month with a receipt...

Okay, okay, perhaps the 2001-2008 receipts were a bit overkill. I've shredded everything up to 2010 except tax statements, anything related to my student loan, all of my year-end pay stubs, and my medical files. Part of me feels a sort of nostalgic attachment to that very first job's pay stub, but the money is long-gone, so who am I kidding by keeping it?

It feels good to get rid of excess paperwork. The files have been purged. I'm lighter now.

Let's just hope I never need the 2004 receipt for a pair of shoes I no longer even have... ;)


MissKris said...

I absolutely LOVED that show! We downsized to the basic DISH a couple of years ago because we watch so little TV and I can no longer get it...I think it's on BBC America?? I sure miss the ladies! I'm not a packrat but Dear Hubby is SO much one. He has bins of camo clothes in the basement, enough to clothe 10 men for a week. Caps, boots, shoes, you name it. After 36 years I've learned to live with it but all I ask of him is he keeps it down in the basement and in his den down there. The upper floor is MINE!

cm0978 said...

Don't throw out things that relate to anything on your income tax forms! Like medical receipts when you itemize. That said, it's great to have tidy files!