Last night I went to bed feeling several pounds lighter than I had when I woke up that morning.
Yesterday, I finally sat down and sorted through my paper.
When all was said and done, I sorted through four boxes, two large accordian files, and two stacks of paper. I now have in my garage, waiting to be properly destroyed, three full boxes of paper I no longer need.
Clearly, I can't deny it - I am a paper hoarder. I had bills and bank statements going back several years. I had birthday cards from when my friends were too young to even spell my name. I had high school letters passed hand-to-hand during class. I had pages of song lyrics that I had printed out for one reason or another. Old plane tickets, bus passes, travel itineraries, movie ticket stubs - anything that I thought might in any way have some sort of meaning or importance, anything I might possibly want some day.
Yesterday, I let most of that go. It was beautifully freeing.
I now have one small half-full box of meaningful momentos. I have our tax records (finally!) sorted and organized in one accordian file and our other relevant bills and important documents in the other.
I don't know why I hold on to paper so tightly. Partly, I suppose, to remember. I feel I have so few memories over the years, and I'm afraid of forgetting the rest, so I cling to anything that might hold even the slightest meaning. A paper record of my life, of who I was, of who I knew, of what I did, of where I spent my money, of...of...of.
I have carried around this extra weight for so many years, dragging it from one house to another, adding to it as the months and years went on. And for what?
At some point, I had so much "meaningful" paper that it all ceased to have meaning. Paring it down has meant that the small box I have left has more meaning than the piles of paper I'd had hours earlier. A small box of cherished momentos to replace boxes and piles of stuff.