Don’t throw that away

This past summer Ol’ Dutch was going through some treasures kept in storage when I came upon boxes full of important papers.
Now mind you, some of these date back to pre-2000 and have been saved with meticulous care over six moves, a nasty divorce, a fire, flood, blizzards, many-sortings and a dropped PBJ sandwich or two.
I am not sure when we all became so afraid of throwing out papers, receipts and bank records but it probably is based on our fear of the dreaded IRS.
Having been through a couple of audits myself over the years, I quickly found out that the IRS could care less about what you kept as they have it all anyway. About all Ol’ Dutch had to do was pay up in the end. Pretty handy for them, anyway.
All that means is that I have ended up storing boxes of receipts and bank records for decades. I finally got up enough nerve to burn them in the camp fire pit.
I have to admit it was a walk through memory lane as I sorted them into smaller bunches which then led to me reading things of interest that I found.
There were bank statements from back in my college days in the 1970s and looking at the meager funds I had, I wonder how we ever made it. I didn’t even know I was poor as I was in love and young and stupid. Miss Trixie just said some things never change and she must mean “in love” as I am not young anymore – and no comment on the stupid part.
Into the eternal flame went bank statements, old checkbook registers, canceled checks, receipts and ledgers. It felt good to unencumber myself from such paperwork and I quickly moved on to a couple of boxes of the dreaded tax returns.
Experts say that you only have to keep tax records going back seven years and that may be true but somewhere along the way we have become petrified of not having them in case the IRS come calling.
I, however, plunged ahead and started tossing decades old tax returns left and right into the flames. I am not sure if it was just me or not, but it seems that those records almost refused to burn. A sort of demon possessed phenomena much like seen in the Exorcist movie ensued.
I even thought I saw a dragon like creature in the flames as the IRS documents went up in smoke.
But with enough encouragement including a good dousing of kerosene, soon Ol’ Dutch was on his way to IRS free nirvana and peace of mind. Just knowing that I was not going to have to move those boxes one more time was enough to guarantee my happiness for a long time.
Perusing the storage facility, I also came upon all my old medical records from one time I got injured. These were voluminous in quantity and heavy to boot.
Ol’ Dutch moved quickly to add these to the inferno lest I lose my nerve and want to keep 402 x- rays, copious notes about ribs and ligaments, hospital stays I prefer to forget, pharmacy records, mileage receipts, motel tickets and a myriad of other things related to that time in my life.
If you are not a saver of old documents, you really cannot understand the hassle that saving all that causes. I have collected things like the 11 years of proof of insurance in the glovebox of my truck, contracts for vehicles I bought and sold more than 10 years ago, bills of sale for items I no longer have, titles to vehicles long sent to the great scrapyard in the sky and several year’s worth of receipts so faded you cannot read them.
Yet all these remain in my possession due to a fear of one day needing one.
Of course, Ol’ Dutch would never be able to find it when it was needed but shredding, burning or simply tossing such items out is almost more than I can take.
I think that maybe Miss Trixie can take credit for my new found courage however. Ol’ Dutch has found out she knows “everything” anyway so the pressure if off me to recall or save anything.

Kevin Kirkpatrick and his Yorkie, Cooper, fish, hunt, ATV or hike daily. His email is [email protected] Additional news can be found at or on Twitter at TroutRepublic.


More In Opinion