Shedding and shredding

What is it about January and the new year that inspires taking stock and making changes in ways the other 11 months never can? “Getting organized” is always big on my to-do list — I drool over magazine pictures of beautifully folded linens in well-ordered closets, desks and workspaces that manage to be creative as well as uncluttered, rooms that are restful because they’re not full to the brim with furniture and chachkes.

But in my world, linen stacks are lopsided and lumpy, the top of my desk is rarely visible, and most rooms have too much furniture and too little space to rest the eye.

But I’m trying…again. This weekend I got inspired to clean out closets and gather clothes and other items for Goodwill. My small office closet got the biggest overhaul — one $40 shelving unit from Target ($10 off) made a big difference in being able to use all the available space. Everything else I already owned, but wasn’t using very well. (Let’s see how long I can keep it this way.)


Shredding old tax records (keeping only 7 years’ worth — I hope I won’t regret that) and discarding papers kept far too long (e.g., 10- to 13-year-old performance review stuff from my last job. I held on to some of the nice comments and kudos because when you work for yourself, those sorts of feel-good messages don’t come along too regularly. But, really, it was time to let go!) I’m still hanging on to some “source materials” that I haven’t looked at in years. But having them could save me some headaches should I ever need them — hard to know what to do in that case, so I’m keeping them…for now.  


All that shredding took quite a toll on my little shredder. And that Big Lots bag full of paper for recycling weighed at least 30 pounds.

The sad part is, there is still so much left! I’ll keep going until I get too busy with work or too tired of it to care anymore. And there’s still all the Christmas decorations to take down (and organize again for next year).

How do the minimalists do it? Did they never have a lot to begin with, or did they just discard most everything they own? I don’t buy nearly as much “stuff” as I used to (seeing all those cancelled checks for eBay purchases was a real eye-opener), but the damage has already been done.

What I said last January at about this same time still holds true…

But, now that the S I M P L I F Y mood is upon me, I want to keep going. To feel lighter and less burdened. To make room for new ideas, new ways of looking at things, and yes, maybe some new possessions more in tune with how I feel and what I want now. It sounds so S I M P L E — why is it so, so H A R D?

By sowing frugality we reap liberty, a golden harvest. 
                                                                      ~ Agesilaus


  1. Rege said,

    Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    That sounds like someone I know.

  2. Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Being in the industry of shredding paper and keeping things to a minimal, I understand the difficulty of getting organized and staying that way.

    I can do it for a week or so, but then I get lazy and forget to shredder all my old bills or keep my stuff in the proper drawers. It is frustrating. I find that keeping a shredder right next to my office desk and one for my employees to use keeps all that unwanted paper down.

    We shred everything around here, and we especially shred newspaper for our compost pile. Little things to help keep things down

  3. WritingbyEar said,

    Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    You know, as I was shredding, I wondered if any of it would be good for compost. Is it only newsprint that works? (I guess it’s a “brown”?) Most of my shreds come from copy paper and bills. I’d love to put it to work somehow. (At least it gets recycled.)

  4. robbie said,

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 10:20 am

    You should become a member of C.R.A.P. We just had our yearly board meeting when Lyn was in town. In 2008, we focused on C (consolidate – especially in the basement) and will highlight 2009 with R (reduce – via auction or ebay or pitching). Membership is free, but you must commit!

  5. WritingbyEar said,

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I actually mentioned CRAP in last year’s post! I so want to be a member. I try and try…and I’m certainly commitable — I mean committed.

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