As I continue to go through files, empty drawers, and toss old calendars, I remember that I did a series on decluttering last year. Since I have a lot of new followers, I'd like to post that series again. I will probably edit a bit, too, because anything I've written before always gets edited. Whether it needs it or not.
Here is the first one:
Forget the play-offs, the Super Bowl, and folderol. January at my house is reserved for cleaning my office and files. That's fortunate, because I am usually so tired of crumpled wrapping paper, bedraggled bows, and cartons of half-eaten fruitcake that I am ready to be ruthless!
Of course, with taxes coming up, the financial files were first—the many EOBs (Explanation of Benefits), the twelve bank statements for each of four different accounts, the pages of hassles with the credit company, the receipts from purchases (some for things useful, others not so much), the letters long since answered, the letters that never got answered.
As for the seven other file drawers, each year I try to leave less of my life for my children to sort. There are, of course, a number of items I need as long as I continue to speak and market books. But I also have tall stacks of various marketing strategies that are already out of date. Wake up to 2013, woman.
Some things I leave because I want the kids and grandkids to see me as a real person. Some things I still have because I'd like at least one of the four to say, "Wow! Mom actually did this?!"
And some I keep because I can't bear to throw those parts of myself away—not yet. They prove I am alive.
But now it's the first full week of February and every drawer feels and looks emptier. Many books on the shelves have moved on to someone who can use them now. I cleared the clippings taped to the hutch above my desk so new pictures and pithier quotes can take their place.
And I find this year, as I did last year and the year before, that those pieces of paper, those scraps of history, those little mementos matter less each time I clean my office.
Once again I tell myself that my authenic life-and-legacy resides in my soul and in the souls of others.
Empty those wastebaskets and recycling bins.