The Dreaded “Important Files” Project

If you took a look at the cool graphic my son made for me of the Stratographic Column of the average American home you will see my attempt to label the layers of stuff we accumulate in our homes.

If you have followed my blog, you would have heard me talk about making “sweeps” in an attempt to reduce these layers and to get my clutter under control.

I have been through every layer depicted here, several times. I have discarded and organized each layer – except important papers, files and taxes.

I even ripped my heart open and went through all my family photos, souvenirs, precious childhood trinkets, everything to keep from having to face the files!

I put it off like….well….someone putting off going through files and old tax returns.

I dreaded it! Probably because I’m a terribly unorganized when it comes to important papers. And I’m totally ignorant about what is important and what’s not. So, just shoved them in the file cabinet and forgot about them.

Crossection of Minimalism

However, I am proud to announce that I finally faced the music and did it!

I turned this…


into this…


I think what made it scary was two-fold: one, I was afraid that I might throw out something important and two, I knew that what followed was facing such things as writing a will, making decisions concerning my burial – you know meeting with the Grim Reaper’s secretary.

Once I decided to face the beast, it really wasn’t that difficult. Here’s what I did:

I went online and read several articles from reputable sources about what I needed to keep in my important file box and in a fireproof safe. How many years of taxes? What sort of documents? Stuff like that. I would list out for you what I decided to keep, but I think everyone is going to be different. So, it’s best if you make your own decision.

Once I decided that I had good information I pulled those things out, put them in the appropriate storage container and shredded the rest.

That’s it.

I was able to overcome my fear of accidentally throwing out something important because I realized that most of this stuff is online now. 

So, that is done and boy am I glad! Because I just had a situation where I needed to pull out some important information and guess what?

I knew exactly where it was and it was easy to get to!

What a relief! I wish I had done this sooner, like when I first got married and/or when my kids were little. New moms, start organizing your files as soon as you find out you’re pregnant so your kids won’t have to get their immunizations – several times! Here’s some help here to get you started.

My advice to you – face the beast and get it done!






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