That would be because…I hate paper. The reasonable approach to paper is, IMHO, to ignore it. Yet I’m a compulsive saver of paper, partly because I run chronically scared of the IRS and partly because Ex-DH, the corporate lawyer, never, ever threw out a scrap of paper.
Remember when banks used to send you your canceled checks? He would keep every one of them. We had an old bureau drawer that had every canceled check we’d ever written, neatly arranged chronologically in row after row after row. Since we’d been married for over 20 years, that made for a lot of rows.
So it was impressed upon my malleable little brain that you must never throw out a piece of paper that has anything to do with a financial transaction.
Result: in my old age, I drop every receipt for every purchase, no matter how trivial, into a grass basket.
The basket was getting pretty jam-packed. And of course the usual array of statements was piling up, though I’ve been a little better about pushing that variety of paper.
You’ll recall that the last time I took it upon myself to clean out the paper nests, I burned all that debris in the fireplace. Years worth of it.
That was messy.
This time I don’t have such a backlog of the stuff — only about a year’s worth.
Well, except for the collection of statements from Fidelity dating back to early 2013…
This time I decided to save about six months worth of credit-card receipts — especially the ones from Costco, where one is allowed to return a product at any time during the remainder of one’s natural life span. For the second six months’ worth, I would save only Costco receipts, receipts related to the business, and receipts having to do with car and maintenance and house improvement. The rest of it: out.
§§§ Well, goddamnit, the lovely Macintosh has decided it won’t read my camera’s card, so I guess the photos I snapped either don’t exist or cannot be retrieved. Really, how can I describe how much I hate this damn new computer? Almost as much as I hate the damn new Toyota. Which is a lot. §§§
To put it into words — the project, not the hatred — running all those receipts through the paper shredder filled up the shredder’s (capacious) bin twice and resulted in about a bushel and a half of paper strips. If I were into papier-mâché, it would’ve been a gold strike.
By way of simplifying this chore the next time it comes around, I decided to make file folders for each month — a file folder just fits inside said grass basket. So all the January receipts get segregated, the February receipts, the March receipts, and so on. This will make it a lot easier to throw out the ones that aren’t worth saving…which is most of them. I created a separate folder for Costco receipts, which will go in there higgledy-piggledy but which aren’t so numerous as to make sorting them a migraine nightmare. Also made a folder for car receipts and one for capital improvements on the house.
A nuisance. But it means all the receipts that really should be saved will be set aside. So I hope the next time it’ll be a little less of a nuisance.