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My past life has now been shredded. I’ve sorted and purged my multitude of banker’s boxes and file cabinet drawers. I’m starting over with a clean slate! What is not in my memory is no longer retrievable.

When Marie Kondo came out with her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” my husband and I were living downtown in a Chicago high rise. I devoured the book and seriously purged my closets and dresser drawers, and some furniture, and, as she suggested, asked each item if it was giving me joy. If I got no answer, out it went.

I sent Marv down the elevator with valet carts full of items to take to a thrift shop in the suburbs. He had to pass the doormen on his way to the garage. After several trips, they asked him what was going on. He told them, “Lois is giving away things that don’t give her joy.” He added, “Luckily, I’m not on the cart myself yet, so I guess I still give her joy.”

Now it was time to take Marie Condo’s question to my tons of paperwork. Did my teaching notes still give me joy? (I retired 22 years ago.) Did a ton of old letters, cards, and printed emails still give me joy? Did the papers I wrote in my graduate work still give me joy?

I read every single item and put it in a save or shred or toss pile. I started in early June and finished this past weekend. It’s been an emotional month, reading highlights and low lights of my life. My guiding question was, “Will saving this to look at in the future give me joy?” If not, out it went.

My hallway is no longer filled with boxes:

I filled my recycle container twice with shredded papers. I think the sun is bestowing a farewell blessing on my years of hard-earned work.

The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now. Not for the person we were in the past.

Marie Kondo

Notice that I’ve not addressed photos! That will take a few months. It’s time now for a rest. I hope I’ve motivated you. Getting rid of this much feels really good! And, don’t worry, I still have a few boxes of my very favorite stuff to peruse again. Maybe in ten years. When I’m 90!