An Unforeseen Outcome

I had the best of intentions, really I did, but there was a tiny oops or two…or three…that I didn’t anticipate.

See this box?

box of receipts

It’s full of receipts, cancelled checks, pay stubs, bank statements, utility receipts, etc.  I file all my receipts and at the end of the year I gather them all up, put them in a brown grocery bag or big brown envelope, tape it shut, write the year on the outside then add it to this box.

The packages in this box date back to 1997!!!!!!!!

A month or so ago I decided it was time to get rid of some of this paperwork so I googled “how long to keep financial records” and when the government and Suze Orman both told me I was a pack rat I decided to shred all the years of papers that were able to be shredded.

I was determined to get it all done in one week.

The first oops I encountered was that I killed my paper shredder.  It went on strike once and after ignoring it for 2 days it worked again for about 20 minutes before dying again.  This time for real…it was dead dead…no hope of ever shredding again.

It took me about 2 weeks to stop procrastinating, but I finally picked up a new shredder and returned to the task at hand.  After shredding everything I could I had a teeny tiny problem…A.K.A. Oops #2.

bags of shred

One box of folded up paper turned into 9-1/2 garbage bags full of shredded paper!!!

I decided to keep 1-1/2 bags so I would have packing material for shipping Christmas presents,  but the other 8 bags were definitely disposable.  Given that the contents of each were all paper, the eco-friendly part of me refused to throw them in the trash.  At the same time, I wasn’t about to empty the bags into my huge 96 gallon recycle barrel and have confetti flying everywhere when the barrel’s contents were dumped into the belly of the recycle truck.

What to do?

I brought home 3 boxes from our cardboard recycle pile at the office, figuring three trash bags would fit into each box.

Oops #3.  :-(

Only 2 bags fit into each box!

box of shred

Closing the flaps and taping the box shut was much like sitting on an over-packed suitcase to close it, but I was successful…3 times!

Two boxes fit into my recycle barrel last week and after box shopping at work again, the other two will go out this week, finally ending a chore I thought would be so simple.

You’d think I’d know myself by now and know that anything I think is simple, while not necessarily ending up difficult, will definitely be riddled with challenges…or oopsies! ;-)

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5 Responses to An Unforeseen Outcome

  1. Cheryl says:

    So….how long do we need to keep paper stuff? That’s a good idea to wrap each year up into a bag or envelope. That would keep the file folders in the drawer from getting too full. Who would have ever imagined that a small pile of paper could grow to such a mountain after shredding?! Amazing! It must feel great to have that done. : )

    • ordinarybutinteresting says:

      If you click on the government and Suze Orman links you’ll find all the info. You’ll be amazed at how little you actually have to keep…at least I was :-)

  2. psobrien says:

    Whew! I’m tired just reading this. But now it’s done! I love marking things off my “to-do” list.

  3. Roxie Matthews says:

    Our shredder cross-cuts things so the chaff is too small to be useful for recycling, but I take it out in the yard and use it for mulch. Just turn the hose on it and walk on it a bit and it lies right down. I put it between the raised beds to cut down on weeds, and it works just great. I also like your idea of using it for packing material. And I’m thinking paper mache is a craft I might enjoy.

    • ordinarybutinteresting says:

      What an awesome way to use the shreds! I’ll have to think of my gardens the next time I have too much as my machine cross-cuts as well! :-)

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