Saturday, 14 May 2011

Throwing out the baby with the bathwater

Yesterday my accordian file huge, heavy and lockable finally capsized under the weight of its contents, so this morning I bought two new ones.  Smaller, lighter and carryable if need be.

I spent almost the entire day sorting through mountains of paper - all alphabetically filed - but going back several years, and deciding what might be discarded.

There is quite a volume of opinion that decluttering is good for the mind and the soul.  Only time will show whether there is any truth in that, but it is certainly good for letting in light and making space where there has been none for a long time.

The danger for we hoarders is that we just might throw out the baby with the bathwater, or discard something which ought to have been kept for legal or other good reasons.

Since I have the attention span of a tadpole (could never aspire to a goldfish), somehow it seems I never quite get round to reading the small print on insurance policies, financial papers or maintenance contracts.
So it is highly likely that the one piece of paper I needed to keep is the one out of 20 I decided to shred.

John was only too happy to do all that was necessary with paper-work of all kinds including the accounts.
Since his death I hve had to painfully slowly acquire skills never natural to me, and it took months after his death (and considerable help from one of my neighbours) to get used to keeping track of money.  As I have all the natural mathematical ability of the average five-year old this has been a bit of a shock to the system. 

On Friday last week I received a cheque from the Hospice Lottery Fund to whom I pay a regular amount by direct debit each month.  My winnnings were for the princely sum of £10 and I had no idea how to pay the cheque in to my bank account.  Yes, I know I have been on this planet a while but receiving cheques was a new experience for me.

Imagine my relief when the bank cashier told me all I had to do was use my bank debit card and it would be credited to my account.!

Magic, I thought.  The world has moved on slightly since the days when my salary was paid by cheque.

There are now two lovely alphabetically accurately filed loads of - more - or - less up to date papers, and two billowing sacks of shredded paper for recycling.

I feel so virtuous that there is a slight feeling of disappointment that there is no gold star on offer.  I just hope I haven't thrown out anything vital....Oh well, I'll just have to keep EVERYTHING from now on.


  1. Well done, Ray! Rf my husband dies first, I can see myself having as steep a learning curve as you, having also left the accounts and paperwork largely to him, while I look after the house.

  2. Hi Perpetua
    I do feel quite pleased with myself about the de-clutter, but for the rest, particularly the accounts, that's still a work in progress.
    Just not my forte! Problem is, don't really know that I have a forte.

  3. It's a great sense of satisfaction to clear up paperclog. You are doing so well at coping with a new way of life. Every Blessing

  4. I wish you well. I don't know much about my household accounts either and sympathise with you having to learn everything in double time.

  5. Freda

    I don't know that I'm doing particularly well but necessity produces some startling results sometimes. It is a good feeling to get rid of so much rubbish I must say.


    Thanks for the good wishes, I have to tackle nearly 40 years of photos next. Anything rather than read the insurance policies!

  6. Well done! You deserve a gold star :-)

  7. Thanks Ron. Will you let 'them' know please.
    Cyber rewards are simply not enough for such a Herculean effort. (I need my stars so I can start a collection).