Boxes and Boxes of Paper


Should I throw it out?

We have boxes and boxes of paper.

Notebooks, newspapers, diaries, journals, letters, cards, essays, and college papers.

Do you have this much paper?

There are boxes and file cabinets I haven’t looked at in years.

And so I am looking through them, weeding what I don’t need.  I’ve emptied one drawer of a file cabinet, and must sort through some boxes.

College papers:  I once thought, Yeah, someday I’ll  reread my paper comparing Aeschylus’ Prometheus with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and The Six-Million Dollar Man. It is funny and charming, and my prof told me it earned “an unusually high grade for a paper in this class” (and shouldn’t it have been higher?).  He drew a picture of a monster on the back.  I still laugh when I see it, but I don’t want to read it.  Can I possibly throw this out?  No.

IMG_2505_1Catalogues:  I found an old book catalogue,  A Common Reader, July 2003. This charming book catalogue  was in business from 1986-2006, and I still miss it.  There is a whole section called “Oceangoing” in this issue:  The Journals of Captain Cook, Dudley Pope’s Lord Ramage series, and A. J. Mackinnon’s The Unlikely Voyage of Jack de Crow.

IMG_2508_1Post-its.  These free Amazon post-its came with a book I ordered from Amazon maybe a decade ago.   (The note is not from Jeff Bezos:  Don’t be silly!)  My husband wrote, “I love you very much.  You are the best Latin teacher in the house.  Talk to you.”  ( I was the best Latin teacher in the house, and the only Latin teacher in the house.)

Never throw out a piece of paper that says, I love you.

Journal of 11-day bike ride in the 1980s:  Pedal and eat, eat and pedal.  I feel like some sci-fi heroine welded to her zinging, creaky Schwinn machine…

In Pennsylvania the hills are incredible. Sci-fi heroine be damned–I should braid my hair and call myself Heidi…

Am hiding in the tent from packs of killer mosquitos.  The hotel last night was like a refrigerator, but if we turned off the AC there was no ventilation.   The campground is gorgeous, but unfortunately a breeding ground…

Outside a small town in New York, a sign proclaims:  CANDY, A GOOD SOURCE OF ENERGY. 

I can’t throw this journal out.

Postcards.  I found an old Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist postcard.  We once spent an afternoon at Niagara Falls. We rode the Maid of the Mist and wore the blue raincoats, and the boat took us through the mist right up to the falls.

Maid of the Mist

Maid of the Mist

I can’t throw this out.

Newsletter, 2010:  I decided to write my blog as a “print” newsletter in 2010, thinking of some of my ancient relatives.  They said they’d rather read it online, so I never mailed it.  Should I throw it out?

IMG_2509_1Do you have trouble throwing out paper, too?

7 thoughts on “Boxes and Boxes of Paper

  1. I relate to you and your paper. When we moved out of our house after 32 years of occupation, I threw out old bank statements back to the 1970s. None of those banks exist any more anyway. (When they merge, do they also purge?). I threw out drawers of teaching materials — most of which I wrote myself — devoted to software programs which no longer exist. Who is for Lotus 1-2-3, Symphony, Powerbase, Wang Decision Processing, and the one that was five programs in one, except I can no longer remember what the one was called? Since I threw away all the paper related to it two years ago, I can’t even look it up. When I meet old programs in the after-cloud I’ll ask it to identify itself.


  2. I had a big throw out this autumn. I did destroy piles of diaries. And I threw out the kinds of papers you are citing. But I was also careful. I asked myself when it came to certain scholarly newsletters on figures of interest to me, materials on figures of interest (Burney, Trollope), games the girls really enjoyed and could still play, puzzles huge and still intact (with all the pieces), will we ever use these. I saved some and have found that two of the piles I saved I have used since.

    So yes do it, but be careful.


  3. Silver Season, I have teaching materials, too. I just came across an old mimeographed test on Catullus that is so good I’m hanging on to it…

    Ellen, my husband just complimented me on an essay he rescued from the garbage!


  4. Ah, paper! You wouldn’t believe how much of my house is taken up with it. My children are all grown but we seem to have piles and piles of ancient artwork of theirs lying about, old school work and revision books – and then when we get on to my stuff and the fact that I can’t throw anything away – one day I will have to move to a smaller house and then it will all have to go…… 😦


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s