Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mental Cleansing

Yesterday Ed and I went to the bank that holds his safety deposit box, and (after two years of marriage) had me added to the account; we emptied the box, taking everything in it home with us in two bags. Yesterday and today we went through the piles of things that had been saved, in some cases for decades. Most of what was in the box was Ed's: high school and college transcripts; expired passports and old ID cards from our teenage years (and in my case, with my maiden name); tax returns dating back to 1992; moving expenses and old apartment leases from three states ago; etc. Some things are to be kept, of course (more recent tax returns; birth and marriage certificates; religious documentation like baptism and confirmation certificates; etc.

So far we've shredded, I think, five bags' worth of old stuff. It's amazing how much better I feel, ridding ourselves of decades' worth of useless stuff that seemed so important to keep at the time (although admittedly, the majority of it wasn't mine). I feel better having been added to the safety deposit box; I can now take care of things more easily if something happens. (I'm sure I could gain access to the box if Ed were to die or become incapacitated, as a spouse, but this way it's simply easier.)

Ed is his mother's son in this particular way: He saves everything, all receipts, years beyond the time when it's useful to have saved. I do this sometimes, too, though; it's good to periodically go through one's stuff, ascertain if one still needs something, and remind oneself where some of those important documents are. We figured we might need copies of our birth certificates and marriage certificate for an upcoming home study or adoption paperwork.

We still have a few things to organize, to figure out what goes where, but that's the easy part, now that everything else has been cleared out and shredded. It's mentally cleansing.

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