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I Want a Desk

A Purple Straw Hat
I haven't owned a desk for a few years. Make that, um, ten? Basically since the tail end of 2003. Or, if I did, I wasn't sharing a state with that desk.

For the most part, I haven't cared. I've occasionally commandeered a table for a few months (once for NaNoWriMo, a couple of times for taxes). R. has two desks, but one is basically what supports the desktop computer (which is Not Mine) and the other is his stuff, and a drift of upcoming paperwork for taxes. Unfortunately, now that we're down to just the one (har de har har) dining room table, commandeering a table for long term use isn't really possible any more. This is a good thing.

We have a four drawer metal filing cabinet, and two two drawer filing cabinets. I figure if we get rid of a filing cabinet (or move it somewhere else), and maybe the short bookcase which has office supplies and some other Random Detritus (Corded phones. Yeah, those are useful.), I could probably fit a desk in there.

But which filing cabinet to get rid of? We ultimately decided we're going to move the metal filing cabinet to the unfinished space, not before I spent several days attempting to increase our options by reducing the amount of filed material to four not totally packed drawers (and without resorting to bankers boxes or plastic equivalents). Alternatively, you could refer to this new hobby as Overheating the Shredder, repeatedly.

Sometimes I go read websites or blogs about people purging their files. I find this an incredibly discouraging exercise, as people claim they can keep all their financial paperwork for a ten year period in two file drawers, with room to spare. The fuck you say. Maybe _after_ you've gone completely paperless, the remaining paper generated with the paperless option _might_ fit in two file drawers. Maybe. I suspect their financial lives may be a bit simpler than mine/ours.

In any event, I came up with some new rules of thumb. If I had tried to make the account go paperless, but it turned itself back on and then took a while to turn it back off, I can get rid of all intervening statements, because if things had gone the way I intended, I would never have had the statements anyway. Within the last 12 months, I also had one of those Disorganizing Events (where a large volume of material, in this case from my personal past, re-enters one's life and has to be gone through) that included a lot of Important Paperwork. Fortunately, the most recent stuff in that lot was about ten years old, making it fairly straightforward to weed. Except that I couldn't just get rid of all of it, because some of it was for a renovation of my condo that was sufficiently extensive that it qualifies to raise the basis of the condo should I some day sell it and take a capital gain. Thus making it effectively Must Keep Forever paperwork.

The great thing about going through crap with an externally imposed constraint (I want this all to fit in two drawers) is that it moves it out of the, "well, can I get rid of a quarter of this" zone and triggers the Get Rid of It All! reflex. It also helped that I'd been through these files a couple of times already within the last year, so I had a basic familiarity with the contents (not guaranteed, given that some had re-entered my life after a ten year absence).

Of course there is the bummer of looking at the stuff while shredding it and thinking, damnit that was a really dumb thing that I did/put up with for so long/failed to do and look what it cost me. But at least it's gone now, and I never have to see it again.

In the meantime, we've decided to put the desk on the second floor instead of in the office on the third floor. The third floor is carpeted, and I want an Airtouch; we're not sure how that base will get along with carpeting. I briefly eyed the Walkstations and then talked myself out of it. My intention is to set up a monitor and maybe a keyboard (the maybe is because the keyboard is going to be an Easy-Switch and go places with me, rather that sitting in one place all the time), to use as a docking station for a laptop.

Partway through the shredding, as I was exasperated and waiting for it to cool back down, I thought about replacing the shredder. Then I figured that the ridiculously oversized garbage bin is going to be full this week anyway, purely because of the shredder, so there's just no point in trying to speed any of this up. With any luck, I'll have reduced the paper paperwork to a point where I never have to shred a bunch of stuff at once ever again.

Comments

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ethelmay
Aug. 17th, 2013 01:22 am (UTC)
My current plan is that the book collection is going to decrease to the point where I can store pleasant-to-look-at file-holding boxes in the library (for things like family letters that I don't want to discard). That seems reasonable, even given my love for physical books, since more and more of my aging paperback mysteries and such could be put on an e-reader. (Given the proportion of books currently on my shelves that are printed on acid paper, I'm going to have half the shelves at least to play with eventually.) I've got eight file drawers and several cubic feet of things-that-should-be-in-them at the moment. I'm hoping to get down to four file drawers.
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