Clearing Out Those "Someday" Projects

We’re downsizing in preparation for moving house in a couple of years. To that end, all those boxes in the attic and all those projects in the closet now have to be reckoned with. We thought we’d get to them “someday.” And so, right on its own schedule, “someday” has arrived.

From the attic, the first thing we’re doing is pulling down boxes and boxes of yearly receipts, tax returns, etc. I spent one afternoon sorting through 1990 and 1992 receipts: so much paper! Checkbook stubs, pay stubs, bills for utilities, credit card, medical receipts, &tc.

And it was astonishing to me to see how often my social security ID was used as an identifier on my bank statements, on some medical statements, and a few other items. I’m keeping the last 7 years of required receipts and tax returns, but am tossing the rest and shredding any paper with personally identifiable information.

We try, every weekend, to go upstairs and bring down one or two boxes of old papers or memorabilia to sort through and make decisions about. Usually I bring down a box for me to process and one for Liz. The goal is to not return anything to the attic. If it’s staying, it’s going into a sturdy, clear bin that will stand up over time better than old paper boxes.

The attic run is turning into an every other weekend trip, but still — one must start and keep starting.

As for my two office closets … One holds a giant metal 4-drawer filing cabinet, with a shelf of miscellaneous tech, software, stationery, and the like. I’m saving that closet for another day.

The second closet holds a shelf of blank books (I have way too many blank books) and binders (I went through a period where I binderized my progress on projects or collected info on specific topics into binders); a bookcase with books, old journals, Tarot decks. &tc.; a couple of bankers boxes of comics; a pile of backpacks, gym bags, and duffle bags “just in case”; and a set of shelves holding our combined vinyl collection and CDs. There may even be cassettes there, but I haven’t looked closely.

One of my 2019 winter goals is to digitize the vinyl. When we moved to this house in 1995, we had shed many of our albums but kept just as many. I had a very nice Sony turntable for a bit in my office but used it very little. There was no convenient way to listen to the old albums. And digitizing albums with the PC and Mac computers I had over the years was more trouble than it was worth. I gifted the turntable to a co-worker.

Late last year, my banjo teacher gifted me with a USB turntable he was not using. Hooking it up to my big iMac was easy, and there’s plenty of room on the desk to hold both. There is also much better software and guidance these days on digitizing vinyl than when I tried before.

I will wallow in the vinyl-digitizing swamp for a few days until a repeatable workflow emerges, at which point I’ll document it here.

As for the binders, the CDs, the books … in their own time.