Monday, April 11, 2016

In which Primo and I spend 30 minutes working on the papers (using a timer) and I want to punch Sly and Doris in the nose

We spent 30 minutes on Saturday and then 30 minutes tonight working on one box of papers from Sly and Doris' house.

We threw a stack five inches high into the recycling.

We have a stack nine inches high that will need to go to a shredder.

At first, I thought I would take the papers to work and feed them into the shredder in the mailroom, but as the stack grew taller and taller, I thought, Nope, I don't think so. Primo had taken a bunch of stuff to Mailboxes USA in Florida and paid to have it shredded. The estate can pay for this, too.

People. I know everyone who is reading this is responsible and cares about not being a burden on the people they love, so I am preaching to the choir.

However, you may not have thought of making sure that you do not have seven years of bills all thrown together in one file.

Or all of the previous year's medical EOBs.

Every year, in January, I sit down with my files - and yes, I have separate files for separate things - I do not mix everything in one folder - and throw away all the previous year's bills except for the most recent copy. All I need is proof that I am current with the phone company and with my mortgage and with the electricity company.

I do keep annual investment statements, but get rid of the quarterly ones once the annual statement arrives.

Medical bills and EOBs - again, everything from the previous year goes.

I have all of my tax returns since forever, but that is because I am paranoid. But only about taxes. The phone company can't come after me for something from two years ago.

Sly and Doris did not practice this type of document management.

That means that Primo and I now have to go through all of these papers because they are all mixed up and we don't know what's current and what's not.

That knee surgery that Sly had in February 2015? That surgery that you and I paid for via our Medicare taxes (for US citizens)? Sixty six thousand dollars for knee replacement for a man who used that knee for walking only (Feb, Mar, Apr, May) four months. That's $16,500 a month.

We are still not done with that one box and there are many boxes.

This is going to be a long winter.


  1. Was it titanium?
    I hear they last forever.


  2. Was it titanium?
    I hear they last forever.

  3. My mother kept every single receipt that passed through her hands. She had every bank statement ever sent to her and kept her clothes piled up on the floor of her bedroom as all the receipts and bank statements had filled up her dresser drawers. I feel your pain.

  4. My father has boxes and boxes of documents, in every room of his apartment, all grouped into envelopes and bound with rubber bands. For what it's worth, I'm sure they're all in order and organized by year, but I'm still going to have to go through them all when I deal with his estate, because he refuses to deal with the accretion of useless crap.

    Me, I have all of my documentation on my Google Drive, which I have backed up to 3 different places. Anything that arrives on paper like tax documents (only a few now, most are electronic) gets scanned in and shredded. Yes, shredded. Since many of my tax documents are sent to me electronically anyway, I have repeatedly confirmed that electronic copies are considered sufficient by the IRS.

    And good for you, the "X minutes every Y" method is a great way to approach tasks that seem overwhelming. I hope you're through them by now (in real time)!

  5. My standard is a little looser than yours, and it's somewhat out the window since kids, but I always kept:

    Last bill of the year for 5? years
    All of last year's bills
    End of year investment and bank statements
    All of last year's bank statements
    credit card receipts until they've shown up on the bill or if they're for big things (TV, etc) taped to the manual in that folder

    We would take our things to be shredded at the big community shredding drive after tax day. Our community has at least once a month a location to take up to 100 lbs to be shredded for free by the county waste district, and multiple ones the last part of April and early May.

    1. Oh, and I do keep a folder from each former residence that includes the final bill for all of the utilities.

  6. To be fair, I have 7 years worth of bills/statements for everything that is or has been a current account within the last 7 years. BUT, at least once every 6 months, I go file all the newest paperwork into the completely organized folders that are separated not just by company but by account, and we shred the oldest 6 months to a year so that it's always relatively up to date. And all the bills/statements in each folder are in date order so it's easy to find those.

    Yeah, it might be more than we need, but if anybody else needs to take care of it, they can spend 2 hours doing it, not several days of figuring it out.

    - AC

  7. Just to clarify, (and not to defend) but Sly paid for his Medicare throughout his working career. :)

    1. I know. But I suspect that he got way more out of it than he ever put into it. He and Doris showed no interest in using medical resources wisely. (I.e., she fell and maybe broke her ribs. Three days later, decided she needed medical attention. She called her doc and he told her to come in, but then she decided to go to the ER instead because she didn't feel like going to the doc's office. If you can wait three days, you can drive the extra four miles. :) ) (I am very anti-ER unless you are about to die or to lose a limb.)

    2. Mmmm maybe don't wait quite that long because then it's almost too late.

  8. I love reading you blog! I feel your pain. I do need to get rid of papers myself but I would rather be doing other things, like reading your blog!


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