It was a beast, but I tackled it!


The beast loomed over me for at least three years. It was the epitome of organization, but also my nemesis. Whenever I opened a drawer of my mom’s five-drawer file cabinet, I was overwhelmed and would close it quickly as if I was fearful those yellowed newspaper clippings or dog-eared pages would escape from the over-stuffed folders and attack me.

But, yesterday, I attacked that file cabinet.

I found some gems, as expected! But I also found many papers that are bound for a super shredder.

(Oh, how I wish I could BORROW a shredding truck! I could surely fill it as I’m winning this war on STUFF but banks limit customers to three boxes of papers to be shredded!)

But, back to the file cabinet….

There was my dad’s death certificate – 1997. And, his birth certificate – 1922. I found copies of letters from a few generations earlier – can’t wait to have the time to sit and read those treasures. There were bills were paid decades ago, and cancelled checks bound by brittle rubber bands which break and cause an avalanche of checks – trust me!

Treasures – plus trash – once stored in hanging file folders packed so closely next to folders on either side that not a piece of paper could be withdrawn without an extensive tug-a-war! Decades of records, memories, and information. Thousands of trees were ‘killed’ to make the contents of those drawers.

I gathered a lot of information to send to my brother – the genealogy guy! Our mom loved the challenge of tracing our family tree back to Adam and Eve. She had a good start, and he’s taken it much further thanks to technology and the miracle of DNA genealogical research, but will have to scour through scribbles on yellowed pages to be sure our mom didn’t uncover something, years ago, which he doesn’t know. I’m thinking he needs an assistant, but I’m NOT volunteering!

But, the file cabinet is lighter now!

This purging journey is going well! I’m becoming even more brutal in my efforts. Very soon, my husband and I are moving to another home, and I’m determined to move LESS stuff than I’ve stored  for the last 33 years! Today I reduced five drawers to two – plus a third, filled with gently-used manilla folders and hanging files. I won’t need to buy files in my lifetime – ever!

So, what’s in your file cabinet?

When was the last time you tackled a beast? Do you have some spring cleaning you could do today – in your files, or cabinets, or closets? Purge a drawer or two. You’ll be surprised what you find and most likely will be invigorated by the act of downsizing. What will you tackle today?




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