Last week, we got a notice from our credit union that they will be hosting a big "shred-a-thon", where people can bring in any personal papers and documents for free shredding. We have had our own shredder here at the house for years and use it regularly, and over time we have gotten rid of lots of our old statements and bills. But the prospect of a free shredding service inspired Jerry to haul his mom's old papers out of storage and finally go through them, with the intent to shred most of them.
This is a big deal. Eleanor passed away almost 5 years ago. We knew she was a "saver", but the amount of paperwork she left behind was just daunting. Boxes and boxes and files and files. And while part of it was semi-organized, lots of it was a mish-mash of old bills and receipts, together with school stuff, greeting cards, and military and immigration records. A single, tattered folder might contain items spanning four decades and include anything from Eleanor's 3rd grade report card to a receipt for groceries back in 1958. The paycheck stubs went back to the 40's. So did the tax papers.
It was too much for Jerry to go through all that stuff when we had to clean out his mom's house, so we rented one of those storage units and put them in there. Somehow, he managed to find all the things he needed to find in order to settle the trust. Everything else would just have to wait until he felt like sorting through it.
So now he feels like going through it! We brought home about a dozen or so boxes, and we spent a few hours going through some of them today. The old cancelled checks were pretty easy to go through. This particular set was from the 50's and early 60's, I think. There were medical statements from the 80's and 90's. Lots of employment related stuff, paystubs, company products, business loan papers.
Jerry was really good about putting most of the stuff in the "shred" pile. There were a few personal tidbits that were just too good to throw away, of course. It's the prospect of finding hidden family treasures that compels Jerry to carefully go through each box and folder, each stack of papers, before they are relegated to the shredder. And with the musty smell of Grandma's house still permeating everything, it was all very nostalgic.
We're not done. Maybe not even half done. There are still more boxes in the truck, and at least 4 big boxes at the storage place. But we made a dent today.