1.28.2007

Sisyphus Has Nothing On Me

There’s something that’s coming between me and my sanity and it’s called my much neglected mail, the mail that stacks up because I’ve paid the immediate bills but before me sits that semi-necessary stuff that really should be sorted into my overstuffed file cabinets because there are rumors floating around that someday I just might need it, like in case of an audit or a purchase malfunction or if I ever find myself with a shortage of reading material (impossible!) or I just don’t know why.

Going through the stacks semi-weekly, I manage to toss about half of what was left over from the previous week because the offer expired or the event has passed or the election is over and I never did read those recommendations because the ones I found online were much easier to access because they didn’t involve climbing the mail Mt. Everest.

When I purchased a shredder, I envisioned my path to clean-counter heaven. There’s nothing like a new toy to enlist participation in a dreaded chore. The whizzing, the whirling – I saw junk mail disappear before my eyes, but I faced the daily arrival of the postman and like Sisyphus could never get over the hump.

I hear the tips roaring in. Tackle your mail the minute you walk through your door! File immediately! Nothing gets to remain on your desk/table top!

Brilliant advice, but my file cabinets are exploding. Each time I must file something new I don’t want to wade through all the old to figure out what can go. That’s double duty. I got it into the file cabinet once. Can’t it just reside there forever?

It could if I owned a million file cabinets and lived in a palace.

I could go paperless and get all my bills and statements via email, but I don’t trust that yet, which is a shame because my computer is a beauty to behold – organized and neat – with all its endless folders. If I forget where I filed something, I can just do an easy search, and there it is dancing before me saying, “Here I am. Here I am.” Furthermore, if longevity is what I’m after, I’m certainly more likely to rescue an external hard drive in the event of a fire than fifty file cabinets (okay, two, but once they’re beyond the size of a shoe box, numbers don’t mean much.) We’re talking fire and running and grabbing animals and photos and children. Old credit card statements? I don’t think so. So maybe I must rethink my skepticism here.

The biggest obstacle between me and relief is the tax audit. I’m convinced that as soon as I toss my old financial records, the Tax Man will knock at my door and wag his finger at me as if he’s been lurking in my alley peering through binoculars into my window to detect the perfect moment to strike. Ironically, I don’t even know if the papers I save would prove anything on my behalf. I have a creative way of tracking my expenses that has little to do with receipts. Still, I have faith in my system, mostly because it’s mine.

In an effort to force my hand, I placed all my unfiled mail upon my bed with the mandate, “No sleep until this is dealt with.” Unfortunately, my mind has a mind of its own, and with one grand gesture it found a spot in the corner of my room screaming for company. That corner is no longer lonely.

My file cabinets still overflow, my shredder is silent, and the Tax Man must lurk a bit longer. If there’s ever a fire in my home there will be no shortage of fuel, and I’m convinced my obituary will read, “Death by mail.” When people ask, “Given the opportunity, what one luxury would you offer yourself?” I answer, “Forget the daily massage. Forget the gourmet restaurants. Give me a secretary.


7 comments:

jen said...

How about this - take this post, and all that mail that needs to be disposed of, and burn it all in a ritualistic plea to the gods to cleanse you of this turmoil.

or, i could just wander away now.

QT said...

I so hear you on this! I fight the same battle with the mail pile, with the BF constantly threatening to throw everything away.

If it helps you at all, you really only need to save year end statments for any accounts. Financial institutions are required by law to keep records of your statments for 10 years electronically, just in case you want to sue us. So let us look for them if you need them, and throw THOSE files out, anyway.

If you make any headway anywhere else, please come back and share...

fringes said...

I throw everything away.

Rrramone said...

I can so relate.

I see your 5 and raise you 20. ;-)

ecm said...

I can SO relate to this! I've been sending junk mail 'return to sender' which is fun but it's still the stuff that needs to be saved that always ends up in a pile...so inescapable

kristen said...

I'm living admist piles of papers that I can't file, can't throw out and can't distribute into proper piles, all making me nuts because I long to be clutter-free.

V-Grrrl said...

I feel this way about my kids school papers, which accumulate at an alarming rate and must be saved until the next report card comes out.