Legally Clean


I’ve always had a bit of an aversion to legal documents. Never on a whim would I rip off that tag on my mattress that states it is illegal to remove it. I’m always afraid some slip of paper, some note I once took in a meeting, some record of payment will be desperately needed and I will have thrown it out. I’m not a hoarder, just overly cautious about documents.

This was all brought instantly to the forefront when I awoke early Saturday and began cleaning stuff out. It’s time to be brutally realistic about downsizing my life. I have no need for 2500 square feet to maintain, not to mention the 6.8 acres of land. “We’ll probably be here through the summer and the weather is getting nicer!” I replied to Skeedles the Cat’s quizzical look as I hauled the kitty litter box from my office to the garage. “You only use it in emergencies anyway, and that’s not often.”

I’ve poured over the real estate listings on-line and the one thing that struck me hardest about the photos was the clutter. Even the more elegantly and appropriately appointed homes had a certain chaos that says “Someone lives here.” Differentiating my house means I have to “stage” it. Make it look inviting enough that someone wants to sit down and have a conversation while taking in the surroundings. I can’t remove all of “me” but the less I see of folks’ families in the homes on-line, the more I can imagine living there.

So I cleaned, and sorted and piled up a huge array of junk in the garage which also got a good tidying. Why, pray tell, have I been saving:

  • Files of insurance policies on things I no longer own
  • Cartons and boxes of notebooks from the 15+ years I worked for SeaChange.
  • CDs of songs I own digitally. These aren’t nostalgic albums with great packaging, these are relics.
  • Stacks of 3-ring binders archiving years of being on the board  of an industry group I no longer communicate with.

As long as I don’t think too much about it, the drudgery of cleaning is therapeutic. Did I mention I cleaned the dishwasher? Did you know that was even an option? I didn’t until I looked at it and felt ill. It CLEANS dishes right? I’ve never been Suzy Homemaker so I fired up a quick YouTube video and it made a remarkable difference!

The good news is I found all my paper work, and I do mean every scrap from 10 years ago when I bought this lovely abode, along with all the major repair bills. I know exactly where I was back then, and though I don’t know exactly where I am going, I’m sure it will be well documented, legally or otherwise.


11 thoughts on “Legally Clean

  1. I have boxes and boxes of files. Every once in a while, I will open one of them and cringe. Do I really need my paid utility bills from 2003? Definitely not! But there they are – all sorted by company (some of which are no longer in business). Time for a bonfire! I think there is a certain sense of relief when the clutter is gone. Too bad it is not as easy to unclutter our minds!

  2. Hi Martha,

    We too have a similar idiosyncrasy. Especially with our adult children’s early documents. For instance I found my daughter’s send grade report card. We have all the ashtrays from arts and craft classes. The pile of hand written Mother’s and Father’s day cards is several inches high. We have already downsized to a small apartment which does not have the room for all this stuff. A lot of soul searching is happening here.

    Your posts are always timely and appreciated.

    I finally got the “Follow” button to work on my blog. Adventures in thought. Please take another look. Tony and I have several new pieces.

    In blogging friendship,
    Mel Polatchek

      • Hi Mel. Good to hear from you. It seems we all hang on to stuff. I have a box for each daughter with all their report cards, clippings from newspapers and such. I hate to be the one to throw it away so I am “gifting” the boxes to them to do with as they wish…
        Will stop by and see what you have been up to!!

  3. I used to keep all my paperwork but the second time I was made redundant I cleared a lot out. Like you I couldn’t see why I’d need bank statements, pay slips and note books from ten years ago or instructions for things long binned. I may have to have another go though because I’m sure I’ve built up more since then.

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