Death to paper.

Doing a massive office cleaning today, and I’d like some advice: What paper should you save? Really. Do you ever really need some of this stuff again? I’m saving anything that might come up in a tax audit, brokerage statements, sentimental “I Love My Mom” drawings from Kate, but the rest is going into the shredder.

A ruling, please, on some of these items:

** My property tax assessment (not the bill).
** Disclosure documents for our mortgage — the “good faith estimate” stuff, not the closing statements.
** A book report on “We’ll Race You, Henry: A story about Henry Ford.” I’m telling myself I’m saving it for the check-plus-plus/”outstanding!” grade, but I think I’m really saving it because I can’t believe my child is learning about Henry Ford and not Eddie Rickenbacker.
** An old copy of O magazine. I don’t think I’m ever going to write for them.

UPDATE: OK, this is a keeper:

Chez Panisse, downstairs dinner menus for the week of May 17-22, 1993

…Tuesday, May 18, $45
Salmon steamed in fig leaves
New garlic soup a la James Beard
Duck grilled over vine cuttings with garden salad
Neapolitan cherry savarin

We went on the BART from our hotel in San Francisco. We arrived early, and so explored the record stores on Telegraph Avenue. It was there I learned that the Metal category had about two dozen sub-categories, each one occupied by one and no more than two bands. Because god forbid Speed should get mixed in with Death.

Our honeymoon — ah memories.

Posted at 11:34 am in Housekeeping |

10 responses to “Death to paper.”

  1. mary said on August 18, 2006 at 11:43 am

    Did you ever see “Run’s House?” It’s a reality show, maybe on MTV or VH1. Not sure. Anyway, Run is from Run DMC. In one episode he wants his pool house cleaned out. His wife has stored in there every copy of O magazine. Run wants her to toss them, she objects, saying they will be collector’s items. He says, “They have the same person on the cover every month. Save one.” I love it.

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  2. nancy said on August 18, 2006 at 11:58 am

    There are days when I believe “someday this will be a collector’s item” is a crack-meme planted by the people who make Rubbermaid storage boxes. Having moved recently, my goal in life is to keep it uncluttered forever after. If I inadvertently give away some collector’s items, well, someone’s gotta do it.

    A friend’s mother-in-law gave her daughter a Barbie and said, “This is a collector’s item, so you can’t open it or play with it at all.” Daughter was about three or four, so you can imagine how this went over with her. Of course my friend had to go out and get an identical Barbie that the little girl could actually play with. I really hate toy collectors.

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  3. mary said on August 18, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    I don’t know if Kate went through a Pokemon phase or not, but younger son has been through all sorts of mutations of card collecting. They actually market some as being “rare.” Pete never stayed interested long enough to really take care of any of the cards, and I know lots of them died sad deaths in the washing machine or got picked up off the floor just one too many times by a fed up adult.
    The only stuff I have that I know is actually collectible is a large quantity of Lotus Ware, that the ex’s great grandfather had something to do with. It’s rare and a lot of it is really lovely. It’s also in storage in another state less prone to earthquakes.

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  4. Dorothy said on August 18, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    You can Google with the best of them, so I won’t cut and paste any links. We did this in the last 6 months or so because we moved in April 2002, and again in September 2004. We pitched every single piece of paper we had that pre-dated April 2002 except for one or two tax return folders. I think Mike kept anything to do with the sale of our house in April 2004 ‘just in case.’ Channel 4 here in Gvl. sponsored a shredding event around tax season and you could bring papers to be shredded to this huge truck on the mall property. I went on my lunch hour and waited about 45 minutes until I snaked through the line. I had several boxes and one or two bags. It felt so good to dump them!!

    We shred mail just about every day – those damn blank checks credit card companies so love to shower on us. Our little shredder is holding up fine so far after two years of use.

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  5. Dorothy said on August 18, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    How timely:

    Found this one minute after I posted the above!

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  6. mary said on August 18, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    Did you see that Molly Ivins wrote about the Indiana terrorist targets yesterday?

    Took her a while to get with the program, I’d say.

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  7. MarkH said on August 18, 2006 at 8:05 pm

    Mortgage banker writing here, Nancy. More specifically to (some of) your immediate concerns about which legal papers to keep:

    -All inital mortgage applications and disclosures can be pitched immediately. Keep copies of all your final loan documents as long as you have the loan so you can easily refer to your obligations. Your lender is required to keep your entire application/closing doc file for three years, then it’s destroyed. Most don’t even keep the paperwork as they scan it into their computers anyway.

    -Most assessor, treasurer and clerk offices, especially in metro areas like yours, are modern enough to have everything in their computers for easy retrieval. If you’re in an area with volitile property values, your property tax info could be invalid after a year anyway, so no sense keeping it.

    -I believe it’s an IRS rule-of-thumb to keep your returns and all supporting documents for three years, after which you’re relatively safe from an audit.

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  8. Joe Kobiela said on August 18, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    I think Thursday blog wins for the most replies, 43 and counting. First concert was the James Gang in 1973, saw Jimmy Buffet on the tennis court in Indy in 1979, before he became big, Waylon Jennings was good, Huey Lewis in Hicksville Ohio, Allmen Brothers. Steve Goodman Opening for the Beach Boys, Bob Seager. But the best most wild rocken show had to be The J. Geils band in Fort Wayne, “Wammer Jammer Let me hear you Dicky” Followed by Hard Driven Man.
    Cheers from Auburn,

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  9. basset said on August 20, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    I have, on the wall next to me, a poster from a J. Geils concert at Assembly Hall in Bloomington in September ’73, probably on the same tour… and apparently a very similar effect on the audience, pretty much a state of riot throughout the show and a fine collection of wreckage on the floor afterward. now that’s rock.

    also on the bill… Strawbs (without Rick Wakeman) and Mark-Almond. pretty strange combination but we used to get those in the Hall back then. Pure Prairie League and Santana… Toots & the Maytals and the Who…

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  10. brian stouder said on August 21, 2006 at 10:35 am

    So, speaking of romantic honeymoon dining – how’s about this?

    Before takeoff, Karr took a glass of champagne from a flight attendant and clinked glasses with Spray [from Boulder DA’s office] , who sipped orange juice. Karr first dined on pate, salad, fried king prawn, steamed rice, broccoli and chocolate cake. He also had a beer — crushing the empty can with his hands — and then had a glass of French chardonnay. Karr appeared to order the drinks himself. He later dined on roast duck with soy sauce and yellow noodles, and for his third meal had pizza, chocolates and a bottle of Evian.

    If this turns out to be a hoax – Mr Creepykarr has certainly played it to the hilt.

    And if this is not a hoax, it is no less surreal – like a David Lynch movie.

    It is a strange world, eh?

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