Saturday, April 24, 2021

Blue on Blue


I think some people might have misunderstood what I wrote yesterday about Blogger e-mail subscriptions. Blogger itself is NOT going away -- at least, not that I've heard. Just the ability for people to sign up for an e-mail subscription to blogs via Feedburner. Does that make sense? I hope so. DO NOT PANIC!

I'm a little late this morning because I set out to do a very simple thing that suddenly became a much more complicated thing. I wanted to find my NHS number, so I opened the file box where I store all our paper records and discovered a big pile of loose paper on top -- basically accumulated stuff that I've been shoving in the top of the box for God knows how long, without organizing or filing it in any way. I decided to put it all away, so I spent a half an hour buried in the file box.

Honestly, I don't know why I'm saving any of that stuff. Beyond a few key documents, like passports and birth certificates and marriage licenses, why do I need any of it? I'm paraphrasing here, but I'm pretty sure when I read Marie Kondo's organizing book years ago, she said most paper documents are useless, and I suspect she's right. If I needed any of that stuff I bet I could get it online in two or three clicks.

As an extreme example: life insurance policies. I have a thick folder containing pages and pages of documents all carefully sealed in plastic sleeves -- the insurance policies my parents bought on my life way back in the 1960s and '70s. (They did this as an investment, but don't ask me to explain why life insurance is a savings vehicle. They were much smarter about these things than I am.) The accounts themselves are valuable and can be redeemed or borrowed against should I need money. But do I really need the actual, physical policies? Would the insurance company really turn me away if I came to them and couldn't produce this yellowed stack of paper? Don't they have computers?

Don't worry -- I'm not throwing them out. I'm just asking. And most of the documents I have are a heck of a lot less potentially valuable than that. Old receipts, instruction manuals for the vacuum cleaner, medical records from doctors' appointments five years ago, blah blah blah.


I still have four or five file folders full of yellowed newspaper clippings that I wrote during my journalism years. At this point, they're so old I can't imagine they'd be valuable to any potential career I could pursue henceforth, even assuming I went back into journalism. I should go through them and just save a few favorite articles and toss the rest.

Hmmmm...I may have discovered a task for the day.

Otherwise I have some Newbery books to read and some gardening to do. Olga is snoring next to me but will no doubt want an outing later. Life as usual!

(Photos: Another shot of the amazing Ceanothus on my walk home from work; our tree fern through the bedroom window, with layers of reflections.)

47 comments:

  1. Tom is a hoarder of old bill etc. The other day I made him sort them out, he had several different places where they were kept. We now only have one place, lol
    Love the fern shot through the window.
    Briony
    x

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    1. Good job getting your paperwork consolidated!

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  2. Oh no! Blogger is going away? How shall I fill my days? I may have to take up embroidery like Briony or read all the Newbery prize winners!
    P.S. We also tend to hang on to many useless papers from long ago. You are not alone.

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    1. It truly would be traumatic if Blogger disappeared!

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  3. That Ceanothus would improve my day any time I passed it. I love tree ferns. So dramatic. So other-worldly as a new frond rolls itself out. The piles of paper. We do the same thing. What's amazing is that initial mess took you only a half hour to clean up. Can you scan your old articles? That's what I did with any professional work I wrote or created. The paper won't last forever anyway.

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    1. The Ceanothus IS amazing. We see several of them but that one is by far the most impressive. Dave is talking about planting one now. I have scanned a few old articles and I suppose I could do the rest, if it's even worth it.

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  4. Basic policies you do need, proof of where you have been ie in and out of the UK, certificates in general, you do need.
    Bills and statements I keep two financial years worth unless it is something significant and older. (Seven if it business related)
    It is not easy and it is time consuming!!

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    1. We don't even get bills and statements on paper anymore. Everything comes electronically now. But I can retrieve them that way, by logging in to our accounts online.

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  5. Yes, I For One Miss Understood And Thats Not The First Time Today - Slip A Just Because Treat Under The Preferred Pink Blanket - Thanx

    Cheers

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  6. Try as I might, I fail to keep our three draw filing cabinet free of accumulation. It seems to matter less with Google storage.

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    1. Yeah, but even electronic storage should be de-cluttered now and then!

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  7. Carlos keeps EVERY document. EVERY.Document.
    I was going through a filing cabinet and found all the documents and payments made on a car we no longer own. I asked him why he kept them and he said in case anyone ever tried to claim he didn't pay off the car ... that we no longer own!!!!
    Such is life.

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  8. Let that stuff go, Steve. Or don't. I will tell you that I have found receipts for things my grandfather bought in the fifties in my grandmother's recipe box.

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    1. When my mom moved she had receipts for furniture she bought in the '60s that she no longer owned!

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  9. We have a two-drawer file cabinet full of papers, very old papers. Plus there are boxes and boxes of papers, very old papers. Hard to figure out what to save and what to toss.
    Many, many years ago I spent some time filing away papers for Allen Ginsberg at his home in Boulder, Co. He had several huge folders titled Faded Yellow Newspaper Clippings in his filing cabinet. I always love being reminded of that. Thank you!

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    1. OK, now THAT's a story I've never heard. You filed papers for Allen Ginsberg? Have you written about this on your blog? It's funny that he saved clippings.

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  10. The Micro Manager and I are total opposites. I would have very few papers. She keeps everything.

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    1. The talent is in knowing what to keep and what to discard!

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  11. Oh dear, you've reminded me how badly I need to clean out a file cabinet I have.

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  12. I don't save a lot of papers. I went through my files (COVID project) and shredded lots and lots of papers I (hopefully) will never need.
    Isn't that tree something?! Wow, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Good for you for getting that done. We have a shredder box at work so I wouldn't even have to shred our stuff myself -- I could just throw it in that box and have it shredded professionally.

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  13. The tree fern is beautiful. When we sold the previous house and moved in to an RV, we had a three drawer filing cabinet, after a major clean out we had a small filing box. We're still fairly paper averse, it's insidious how it builds up.

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    1. And you've probably never missed any of the stuff you threw away! Right?

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  14. Unless you live in a shoebox and space is at a premium there is no harm in keeping paper copies of most things. The over-reliance on computers and everything stored online creeps me out. When the world as we know it has ended, Elon Musk has moved to Mars and Planet Earth is out of power I shall be one of the few clasping hard copy of home and contents' insurance and yesterday's Marks & Spencer's receipt to their bosom.

    U

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    1. Now you're just being contrary. :) A fat lot of good your homeowner's insurance and Marks & Sparks receipts will do you after the world has ended!

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  15. My father just died, and I've been dealing with several policies. If you keep a record of all the policy numbers, group numbers, etc. you are good without the paperwork. In order to find you, mostly they just need your SS number and your name. (sometimes the policy #, especially for a group policy)

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    1. I figured that would probably be the case. I can't imagine why they'd need this antiquated sheaf of papers. I will keep them, though, for now!

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  16. Dennis keeps everything, files it, we have loads of files, and It has bailed him out many times. PROOF! Which is required in many circumstances. I am glad for it in case something happens because I have no idea about any of it. Dennis life is more complicated than most so, good job!
    Blue on blue smacked me in the face! In a good way! Stunning!

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    1. I'm impressed at Dennis's organizational skills! I need to keep things weeded out or I'll never be able to find anything.

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  17. Hi Steve, Dave, and Olga. You must keep the life insurance policies because based on how long they have been in business they will sell out to another company. They are responsible for those who have policies before the sale. The birth certificates must be kept because they cost money to get them and you have to order them from the state you were born in. The marriage license could be needed also and you would have to get them from the city and state you got married in. Yep, some things are worth keeping. (lol) I am so glad I keep my birth certificate filed because this year when I renewed my drivers license I had to come home and get my birth certificate although I've been licensed to drive since I was 17. It's always something new years later. Have a great weekend.

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    1. I would never toss our birth or marriage certificates -- I KNOW those are important. I had to get a new copy of my birth certificate several years ago when I renewed my driver's license, so I know!

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  18. that is a gorgeous tree.

    I had thrown my test results away from my bone scan 5 years ago and thought that it would have been included when I switched doctors and had my medical records sent over but it was not. I wanted to compare that one with this one I just had so I went to the online patient portal of the old doctor group and there it was! so my experience is you don't need to keep medical records anyway when you can download a hard copy whenever you want.

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    1. Excellent! That reaffirms my suspicion that I can track down pretty much anything I need should it be required.

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  19. I know what you mean about paper. If someone ever dropped a match in here the house would go up in minutes. I have stopped printing receipts every time I pay a bill. Like you say it's all on-line nowadays.

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    1. Yeah, we keep most transactional stuff like receipts and bills electronically. We don't print them.

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  20. That tree is beautiful. Papers suck the life out of me. I did our taxes on Thursday and I ended up looking through our files and found all kinds of crap from 2005 and up so I started shredding but then got interupted. The papers are still on the office floor.

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    1. It's amazing how it all piles up, isn't it?!

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  21. Nothing like moving into a new place to give you an excuse to sort out stuff. :-) After two moves in the last three years, I'm a lot lighter! :-)

    Have a nice weekend.

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    1. Yes! Moving is a godsend when it comes to cleaning things out. I think that's one reason I'm somewhat averse to clutter -- because I've moved so many times! (Not recently, though!)

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  22. You might want to check your insurance policies to see if they are term or permanent. And if no one is paying premiums (which you didn't mention) then the policies will have lapsed. This is a good time to check while it's fresh in your mind. Just a warning from someone who didn't know a thing about life insurance until a couple of months ago.

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    1. Thanks for the warning! I do maintain the premiums, although to some degree the premiums pay themselves via interest on the policies. I get biennial statements and bills and I keep up with them.

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  23. Depending on the type of life insurance your parents purchased, it can be a good way to save. I'm with jenny_o. It would be a good idea to find out what kind of insurance it is and if it's in effect. Not that we have any desire to made beneficiaries and then conspire to kill you off . . . not that sweet donkey and me.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Yes, they are definitely still in effect. It's comforting that you don't want to kill me, though. :)

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  24. I actually think it's remarkable that you can put your hands on insurance paperwork from the 60s, and no, the insurance company wouldn't turn you away, but you'd likely have to jump through all sorts of hoops without the papers, so good on you for keeping them safe!

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