What If I Need This?

I am in a prison made of sheets of 8 x 10 inch paper. 

Despite my attempts to minimize my personal belongings, my biggest struggle is with paperwork.  Not that I get massive amounts of paperwork in the mail, but every ‘system’ I have tried to organize, shred, or scan has failed.

I have a pile on the kitchen counter- mixed items, my son’s preschool notices, some coupons, and flyers I “may” need.

There’s a pile next to me at the kitchen table- a dual cd “Learn to Speak Spanish” my parents re-gifted to me. Church bulletin; healthy living magazine; and a folder from Berkshire Hathaway about selling homes.

In the dining room, three piles on the table- More preschool paperwork and crafts; medical bills; checks in and out.

Did I mention I do have an office? My excuse for not using it (although it stores several boxes of Avon business work)- I don’t have enough lighting and a chair.   Simple fixes, right? But it keeps getting pushed to the back of my mind to get both items.

I have made the effort to digitize most of my monthly expA5B00935-BC22-44ED-9C97-48269AA591C9enses- automatic debit, and paperless billing.  I won’t discuss the 22,000 emails sitting unopened in my Gmail account.  That’s a fight for another day.

I feel that with paperwork, I have more of a hang-up on letting go than my physical belongings.   The terror of “what if I need this?” is real- mostly drilled into my mind from my Mom (sorry!) who was constantly telling me not to throw out paperwork ‘in case’ there was an IRS audit.   I am not sure they would need my rental agreement from 2002, but I still have it ‘in case’.   Or documents on how I paid off my student loans- “What if they come back sometime in the future and say it’s not paid?” How will I prove it?

Irrational, believe me, I know.  Those are the crazy thoughts I have while trying to sort paperwork.  I try to apply the same principles that I use for objects, but I struggle.  A vicious circle in my mind of overcoming the silly ideas, that panicked “what if?” that creeps in my chest when I dare to think of burning every scrap of paper I have.

The struggle is real, my friends. I won’t declare defeat, I will adjust the method of attack and fight on.  Knowing there is a peace once the paper is gone keeps hope alive for me.

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