A few weeks ago I suddenly became determined to organize my house and get rid of anything unnecessary. Almost every day since then I have worked on that project. Yesterday, for example, I spent all day organizing those records that everybody has to keep for a certain number of years. The files I ended up with look suspiciously slim. Have I gone overboard?
I had consulted the internet beforehand. Some items, like statements from bank accounts, should be kept "a year or indefinitely" according to the website I ended up on. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there's a big difference between a year and indefinitely. I opted for the year. Why? Because I'm sick of stuff, including paper stuff. And what's the worst thing that's going to happen to me if I'm caught not owning a piece of paper from 10 years ago? Good heavens.
Apparently our society has not gone paperless at all. I have a workplace retirement account which gives big fat quarterly statements (fat with paper, not with money!) which I receive at work, whether I want them or not. On another account which I'm in control of, I went online to see if I could reduce the paper influx. Then I caught myself, remembering I that I might be applying for a mortgage soon, if things go my way. I found a website explaining what's needed to apply, and found out that some mortgage companies will not accept statements printed off the internet- they insist on real, old-fashioned paper statements- the kind I just hauled to the recycling bins yesterday. Uh-oh.
Ironically, this project originally started with pure intentions. I just wanted to be organized and efficient. Then I learned that the last house I tried to buy downtown has been slated for sale again in July at a sheriff's auction. So the project's purpose morphed into "clearing out space to make room for change in my life" (not to mention the practical aspect of making moving easier). And now I may have disposed of the very paperwork I needed to apply for the mortgage! That's no small matter, since mortgage companies are now regarding any applicant with grave suspicion in the wake of the housing/mortgage crisis.
I'm going to keep on purging. The mortgage company can receive up-to-the-minute information about me and my finances on the internet, whether they want to admit that or not. I know they love to see their customers jump through hoops, but I think it's more important for me to jump through my own hoops right now.