Saturday, August 23, 2008

Physician, Heal Thyself

I have gotten many compliments over the years on my excellent organizational capabilities, and I LOVE to hear it. Today though, was a crystallizing experience where I approached THE FILING CABINET (TFC), with new eyes.

Initially, TFC was a two drawer operation. Marriage and a couple of years later, it grew to contain 5 drawers and an Index to facilitate information retrieval. A cheap piece of hud that we discovered too late did NOT cantilever, it was still our bastion of information. Important documents like old tax returns, marriage certificates, the only letter I ever received from my brother, how to make a candy corn planter pot(complete with twisted wire and raffia), and a plethora of other "how to's."

It has sat there as a permanent fixture of our home gathering old address lists, holiday ideas and financial secrets that I was afraid I might forget. I could pull up old french tests from the University of Iowa, college acceptance letters, a facsimile of the letter Eisenhower sent to the troops before they stormed the beaches of Normandy - even old themes from Jr. High. Until today.

Here is picture proof of the destruction. It took three trips out to the recycling to get it all up off of the floor. In a five drawer filing cabinet, approximately THREE were full of irrelevant stuff, and the other two will soon be reduced down to ONE once we PDF some stuff that is nice to have, but not necessary to keep on file. Though I have preserved over 10 years of beautifully kept tax files, I only need 3. It gave Abigail some shredding to do while I continued to winnow out file after file.

TFC was placed attractively on the sidewalk, and taken by someone who is probably excited to now have a place for their stuff. For me, I realized that I can't have it all. And that is okay. Within my files was one marked "My Dream House," which was fun to peruse. Some things, I still love, and others I have outgrown. Like the desire for a VHS tape rewinder, for instance, that was in the shape of a piano. Still beautiful in the glossy catalog page next to the piano keys wallpaper border and musical notes wallpaper print. Genius! It seemed so cool at the time, but so expensive that I'd have to only "dream" until I was fabulously wealthy enough to buy such accoutrements for my future home.:D

So dreams change, ideals change, and even furniture changes. We are so thrilled to say goodbye to TFC, and someone is equally thrilled to have it gracing their home. I almost feel like placing a notch in TFC to see if it will freecycle back to my kids some day in their attempt to "get it together," but for now it has been a cathartic experience. Sometimes letting go of the past is the best way to embrace the future. I'm feeling better already!


Meredith said...

Oh my gosh -I remember when I "needed" to go from 2 drawers to a 4 drawer. It is 4 drawers of crap and I don't even have all the stuff you mentioned. I can hardly find the immunization records in there - but I do have repair records for cars we don't even own anymore!

Danika said...

I was tidying the house on Saturday and hanging some clothes in my closet. Then I looked a little closer at some of my clothes. We were planning to do a run to Goodwill so I decided to cull. And cull. And CULL. I called Brent in for a second opinion and in the end there were 3 HUGE sacks of stuff someone else will hopefully enjoy. Ahhhhh, it felt SO good to clean it all out!

Lisa said...

Someday when I'm rich, I'm going to pay you to come organize us! If I remember correctly, I was pretty organized until I had children. ARGH!