Over the weekend, I turned another pile of old documents into confetti as part of my continuing efforts to pare down my files from eight drawers to four. The question that ran through my mind most often was not, "Why do I still have this stuff?" but, "Why did I ever keep this stuff?"

I actually shredded a stack of statements from a checking account that I not only closed more than a dozen years ago, but was at a bank that no longer exists. Good riddance!

My new method for storing files has a two step approach. Step one is scan all bills and statements into my computer. Step two is place scanned documents into yearly folders. If I need to look something up, the scans are named for searchability. When it's time to destroy old documents I can pull a single folder for shredding instead of having to dig through a dozen account-specific folders.

My biggest problem now is going through the 10 inches or so of stuff that has stacked up in my desktop letter tray. Most of it is packed into a big box at this point, but I really need to sit down and go through it to figure out what needs to stay and what needs to go.

Finally, if you're looking for a good shredder, I'm liking my Fellowes DS-1. It's shredded everything I've run through it, and has some style to it. A big bonus is that the output bin can be emptied without having to lift the shredding unit off the top of it like my old shredder. That old one's dead by the way. The moral of that story is that even if the envelope says "blessings of Jesus on whoever opens this envelope" on the outside, feeding the entire envelope (unopened) through the shredder is probably an overreaction.

2008.02.04 at 11:00am EST