The File Pile

If you have ever faced an 18 inch thick pile of paper that needed filing, you already know what a pain in the arse it can be. I have attacked just such a pile two evenings this week, and am almost…ALMOST done.

I call it “the File Pile.” It looks innocent, accumulates slowly, and is both virtually inane and vitally important. It grows in small monthly increments that make it seem harmless. To illustrate the sneaky nature of the pile, I thought it was about a year and a half old at the most. It was 4 years old.

I keep records for 3 years. When it came time to start on the Pile, I thought I would have to sort some of my old files and add to them. Instead, I EMPTIED the old files and just began anew. Which kind of made things easier, to tell the truth.

Filing at work is exacting; at home it is an approximate practice. I have a file named “Medical” and another named “Insurance – Other”. Some of my medical records wind up under insurance, sometimes my home insurance winds up there, sometimes there are extended warranties for home appliances in it. Since my filing is limited to one box, which holds about half a drawer’s worth, I figure it doesn’t matter too much where anything lands. If it is needed, it can be found.

I also have a file folder full of bank account check registers. It’s my fail-safe: a record of every check I’ve written in the last 12 years. I imagine some villain accusing me of non-payment and turning to this file, say “Oh, you think I didn’t pay that? Well HERE IS PROOF.” I know it’s impractical but it makes me feel better.

So there’s my official history in one box; cell phone agreements, payments on utilities, various proofs of insurance. All the things you’re supposed to have as an adult. The file box is evidence that I’m a “grown up”. Filing is not as intimidating as I thought it would be when I was a lost and lonely, angst-filled teenager. The box is mine, and it’s set up my way, ensuring (among other things) that no one else will ever make sense of it.

Anyway, with tax season approaching, it’s good to have tackled and mostly defeated the File Pile. Only 4 more years until I have to do it again.

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