Sunday afternoon, I decided to do some late spring cleaning. This meant going through this one old box and see what is inside. The box contained a whole bunch of brown manila envelopes full of papers.
This is what I found:
- Old photos from 2005.
- Congratulations cards from 2005
- Credit card statements from 2005-2006.
- Bank statements from the same time period.
- Police report from my 2003 accident
- Investment statements from around the same time
- A letter from this couple who had left my company in 2014 asking for financial support when they joined a non-profit organization combating human trafficking overseas
- Some informational packets and brochures
- Paperwork from 2014, 2015 after refinancing our mortgage.
- Random receipts
By law and best practices, you need to keep maybe the last 7 years of records. So why do I have stuff from 13 years ago??
Short answer: pack rat.
That got me thinking: so what did I spend my money 13 years ago? I decided to look at the credit card statements.
2005 to 2006 was when I had just graduated law school and didn’t have a job. I was in a transition. My receipts: UPS Store – shipping things back home.
There are so many things on that list are just scrap paper not worth keeping. Right now, everything is digital, paper-less, and stored as PDFs. Other than the photos, the cards, and the refinancing paperwork, everything is a security risk.
Everything else went into the shredder.
It took 2 full trash bags and a vacuum cleaner to suck up all the small pieces of paper that missed the bag while emptying the paper shredder’s box.
I’m a historian at heart so I am acutely aware of the value of looking at history’s refuse heaps. After all, they found 9 levels for the ancient city of Troy. We can learn a lot about a people by what they kept and threw out. My life has plenty of layers and how the past has shaped me; how the times of transition and lack of income shade how I view my present. At the same time, I could even laugh at what I spend my money 10 years ago – what I thought was so important and where that thing is now.
The only question left to answer: What I find in 10 years time?
I end with the chorus from a song by my favorite band: The OC Supertones – 20/20:
What will I say when I’m faced with his glory the saints
And the angels as I tell my story
Will the works I’ve accomplished be worthy of heaven
What will I think lookin’ back
What was gold what was dross
What was gain what was loss
What will stand what was fleeting
And what will I change while my hearts still beating
4 thoughts on “Archaeology of My Life”
Yep, I’m currently going through a boatload of paperwork myself. Receipts from 2013? No need for those, if I can even read them any more (gas receipts fade within months!).
So congrats on overcoming that inner pack rat 😀
And some of the receipts probably faded over time due to the ink they used. 🙂
Indeed! Grocery, gas station and that ilk of receipt is not meant to last.