I've been on a bit of a roll lately with Getting Rid of Stuff. I'm in the process of weeding the pLibrary, but I'm trying to limit myself to one bag and/or box per day, which takes a very few minutes. I've supplemented that with hauling an armful of books from shelves on the second floor to the third floor and then shelving them in what I hope will be the Home of All Non-Child and Not Currently Being Read Books, if I can get the volume down far enough to fit on the cases up there. It's becoming increasingly clear that 8 size medium (1 cubic foot) Staples boxes and a half dozen or so grocery bags are not going to be adequate to this task; I foresee another Staples run in my future. Also, the leavings of packing tape are being emptied, and I only bought the one new roll.
In addition to purging the filing system(s), weeding the pLibrary, and going through my summer clothes and the kids' outgrown clothes, I've taken a garbage bag or two out of the basement, brought a bookshelf to HGRM, two tables to consignment and snail mailed some books back to their once and/or future owners. And in addition to all of that, I've been throwing away e-mail and other e-files.
The first and probably only important stash was the ridiculously overrun primary inbox. That was just sad. But once done, it made it fairly straightforward to tackle my secondary account's inbox and archived mail. Some months ago, I had made a concerted effort to contact all the people who were sending stuff to me that they meant to go to someone else (baby pictures, stuff about re-enlisting or getting a promotion in the Navy, IEPs, medical documents, ticketless airplane info, wedding preparations -- mostly the florist, but also some of the secondary parties -- travel packages and, my all time favorite, the guy who sells headstones. I'm leaving a lot out, most recently DirectTV transactions) so they would quit sending it to me and, hopefully, the person who was expecting it would receive it. With the worst of it turned off, it finally made sense to go dig through the crufty crust of what I'd allowed to pile up over the years.
I've had that particular account since 2004, when it originally was offered in beta, and as I got down to the original emails, I was reminded of things. Like, in 2005, the person who claimed this was their email when they signed up for MySpace. Mmmmm. MySpace. There was stuff in there from when I bought my Palm Centro, and bought Street Atlas for it. You think maps on iOS was lame when they ditched google? Yeah, try back in the day when you had to buy the maps separately for your PDA. I'd sort of forgotten, and the memories gave me a headache when they came rushing back.
Last night, I went through Downloads. On Windows boxes, when you download something it apparently goes into a tmp directory and ages out. This seems like a better choice. On my Mac, it goes into Downloads and lives there until you delete it on purpose. I'm thinking I should maybe research settings to change this behavior, or start purging it on purpose every month. After a few hours, I got it down to around a hundred files that I might want to keep.
And this raises the real question: how many of these electronic collectors are there in my life? Two inboxes and "Downloads" later, I'd kind of like to know. My old iMac came back to me, and I've been putting off going through it, clearing it off, formatting it and giving it away/recycling it for at least a year now. After what I've done in the last few days, however, it doesn't seem all that daunting a prospect (except maybe the photos). OTOH, when my old laptop died, I just had everything copied over to this laptop, which means there's probably a bunch of crap over in the other account that I ought to go through.
Also, I failed to mention another inbox that I went through, but that had under 200 messages in it; it barely counts.
I upgraded to Mountain Lion today, because I had to if I wanted to have my Contacts, Calendar and so forth sync from the iOS devices to the laptop. The first time I tried to install it, it told me the disk was damaged and not repairable. The second time I tried to install it, it worked. I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about this.