Trashapalooza: Living Large With Two Paper Shredders

Stop calling, we have a winner for the most boring Project ever.

• • •

Welp, I’m back.

And living in a house that has not one, but two, electric paper shredders in it.

Try not to be jealous.

You see, last week when the ungodly hot and humid heat wave hit our region, I was in need of a project to keep me entertained + cool.  Zen-Den had the week off so he was wandering around the house, in need of something to do.

Hence it came to be that we decided to go into our unfinished, but cold, basement and start doing something we should have done years decades ago. Yes, we bravely opened the drawers in the many filing cabinets down there and sorted through the documents contained therein.

Meaning that we found: bills and checks and insurance documents and warranty information and furniture sales receipts dating back to the early ’90s and… in what was the biggest surprise to me… all of my late mother’s federal and state income tax filings going back to 1984.

[She’s been gone 22 years.  I was executrix of her estate.  I thought I’d destroyed all of her documents before we moved here in ’99, but obviously I had not.]

Anyhoo, in the process of going through all of these documents we decided to invest in a second shredder so that Zen-Den could sort through files while I shredded the paper, feeding both shredders simultaneously like a champ, to keep things moving along at a fast pace.

And to keep life interesting.

Or as interesting as it can be, under the circumstances, while sitting in a dusty basement being responsible adults, shredding our past, for hours on end.

• • •

Question of the Day

What’s your most boring project ever? Did you put it off for decades? Were you compelled to do it because of lousy weather?

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Usually.

110 thoughts on “Trashapalooza: Living Large With Two Paper Shredders”

    1. Zen-Den, good point. Togetherness and all that makes any project better. ❤️ But you gotta admit that… really… it was an incredibly unexpectedly involved activity that took days [not hours as anticipated] to finish.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Daily Musings, you’re right. There’s an incredible high that comes from getting rid of this paper stuff. You got us beat with your 1978 tax returns. Why did we keep this stuff to begin with? 🤷‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow. I find it strange to see this post just as I am right in the middle of doing the same thing, although for a slightly different reason. I’m moving and thought it time to shed and shred and lighten the psychic load of all that potentially negative Feng Shui. Weird, though, that apparently my life was undocumented for the first thirty years, as I found nothing older than 1980. I guess it was a simpler time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Roy, maybe it’s the time of year when shredding our past is the thing to do! There’s something uplifting about getting rid of a past that doesn’t serve you now– both in a psychological and practical way. The thing about this project was that I knew we needed to do this for a long time, but put it off thinking it’d be emotionally sad. BUT IT WASN’T SAD AT ALL. I’m happier now, having lived through the boring process.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very familiar territory, this paper shredding business. My aunt’s attic had so much paper we had to rent a dumpster, commercial grade size.

    Do you feel lighter, more virtuous now shredding all this paper? Hope so!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marian, about halfway through this process I mentioned to Z-D that maybe we should have hired a company to do this shredding for us. But being the frugal people that we are we continued on for days until all the papers were toast [so to speak].

      AND YES, I FEEL VIRTUOUS AND LIGHT NOW. Like an organizing angel of goodness.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jill, I’m slowly realizing that I, too, enjoy these *getting rid of stuff* projects. I was raised in a *waste not, want not* world so saving things was programmed into me. But now as a grown-up free to do what I want, I want to have less stuff around me. Thus, I shred.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like projects actually, and have undertaken shredding such as this in the past. That task gets old fast but it was satisfying to get rid of all that paper. I did burn out a shredder or two during the process though.
    Not having my own home anymore makes me long for projects. I see so many things that I would love to tackle in this little apartment complex, but it’s not mine. Like the large space in our laundry room that would be perfect for some storage spaces designed for each apartment… or all those shrubs that could stand some pruning that the owner’s wife claimed she “enjoys working on” and who I have never seen here doing any of that…
    Oh well, I guess that’s why I rearrange my furniture a lot

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, I’m surprised that our older shredder’s motor didn’t burn out. It overheated, but kept going once it cooled down. You’re right about the sense of satisfaction that comes with a project like this one. Boring to do, wonderful to have done.

      I can imagine that after being responsible for the upkeep of this house, if I moved into an apartment I’d notice all sorts of improvements around the place. It’d drive me slightly bonkers, as I have a mindset geared to creativity and usefulness.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Lacey, I’m pleased that we shredded the files, but sitting in a dusty basement… without any music because we couldn’t hear it over the shredder noise… was about as bored as I’ve ever been when intentionally deciding to do something at home. 😴

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Been there! As soon as I retired years ago, I tackled Boring Projects that had been put off necessarily. Stuffed file cabinets was one of the first. Rather than burn out a shredder, however, I put boxes of old docs aside to use as firestarter that winter. It all worked out.

    A hugely boring project awaits Rick and me as soon as we get a cooler weekend (and we don’t go anyplace), and that’s a big garage cleanout. For once, BOTH of us are anxious to throw out pretty much everything in there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nance, I like your firestarter idea. It’d be fun to see these old papers go up in smoke. However, we became shred-heads and obsessed ones at that. I’m glad that we did what we did and considering the terrible heat outside, being inside in a cool basement had an appeal.

      Our garage is a cluttered mess right now, too. I’m impressed that you both want to get rid of stuff– as we both know, that alone is an accomplishment. 🙄

      Like

    1. Kate, there’s something about the summer heat that seems to put people in the mood to shred. I’m happy to know that you’ve lightened your paper load, and am sure that you shredded exactly what needed to be shredded. Your husband is just confused! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Good project done. And other than slothing through movies on the couch, a good way to spend insanely hot days inside. I can’t think of a boring project that I’ve done (or am putting off). I try not to let chores like that get ahead of me. Two shredders was genius. Good on ya!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara, at first the idea of two shredders seemed wack-o to me, but considering how many hours we put into destroying our past using two shredders I’m glad that we bought a second one. Without it I’d probably still be sitting in the basement shredding stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Every summer I update my sons’ scrapbooks up until the age of 18 and high school graduation. I always put it off but eventually get to it before the next summer. Now that my youngest graduated high school in May, this is the last time I have to do it. And I fear it’ll be months before I get to it.

    Now that you’re so good at sorting and shredding, I’ve got a few projects I could use you for at my place. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carrie, yes, I do feel like we could market ourselves as Professional Paper Evaluators & Shredders. I can’t even explain why we kept it for so long…

      I’m impressed by your ability to keep you sons’ scrapbooks up-to-date, even if that means sometime within a year. That’s much better than opening a file cabinet drawer and seeing a decade of paper staring up at you.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. In the last year, I have shredded our old tax returns (1980 – 2011), shredded old college, law school, and job related paraphernalia (evaluations, resumes, cover letters, recommendations, internal memos, etc.), eliminated old drafts of writing projects (including novels that did not put me on the New York Times bestseller list), divvied up my parents photo albums and scrapbooks (1978 – 2012) between me and my 3 siblings, parceled out letters and poems and stories written by my grandparents and parents (dating back to the Korean War) to my 3 siblings, etc.

    As they say in Flashdance ~> “What A Feeling!”

    Like Jill, “I love to shred, donate, clear the clutter. When I get in the mood…watch out!” 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. nancy, I’m right there with you. I’m still dealing with the family photos and momentos I talked about in the winter, so getting rid of the basement paper clutter has been invigorating. Boring, but finished. Now I need to turn my attention to the all of my college + work paraphernalia AND lots of furniture that needs to go somewhere.

      I, too, agree with what I’m going to call the Jill Mantra: “Shred. Donate. Clear.” The woman has it figured out.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I was saving so much for a year and then shredding on my little shredder. Now I’m realizing there are only certain things you should keep for a specific period of time. Most can be tossed. I’ve got boxes of old pics and negatives that I keep putting off. Zen-Den is right! It’s so much nicer when you have someone to go through ‘stuff’ with. 🙂
    http://www.meinthemiddlewrites.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary Lou, I’m becoming more aware of when we need to shred things while not letting them pile-up, in a tidy way, in our file cabinets. Once those drawers are closed, I tend to never look inside again. BIG MISTAKE. I agree with Z-D, too. By myself I’d never have made it through this mess, but together we did it. Now onto the next sources of clutter around here…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I hate shredding…like it is the worst job I can imagine doing…and right now I have a very large bag of paper that needs to be shredded…and I’m too lazy to do it…it might stay here till I bring it to your house…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. This is worst my paper situation has ever gotten! I feel like a crazy person who keeps moving the bag around the house so I don’t see it….cause then it doesn’t exist if I can’t see it

        Liked by 1 person

  10. After my husband died, my mother-in-law and stepdad helped me clear up his hoard by spending weeks (yes, weeks!!!) shredding the documents he had kept over the years. We also employed multiple shredders (one big and 2 household type) and even still could only work for a few hours at a time before we had to let the shredders cool down. We only shredded the confidential stuff – the rest I hauled in multiple car loads to the Humane Society’s paper recycling bins (which I filled up a couple of times). I keep very little paper around the house now. Most of my stuff is electronic-only and kept in the cloud. My kids will thank me, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, that’s incredible. Weeks! What an amazing amount of paper you had to deal with. You are a strong woman. I cannot even begin to fathom that amount of mess and I just came through 23 [30 lbs] bags of shredding– which almost did me in. I agree with you, in the future we’re going to be more electronic about our bills. Too much paper is not a good thing, nor anything I want to repeat.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It took filling 7 14-yard dumpsters and many bags of garbage to the curb every week, and a full year of working every night and on weekends to clean up my home (to be sold) and the large building I live in now. Thank goodness for friends and family helping me out. I don’t know how I did it, looking back. “When you are going through hell, keep going” was my mantra at that time. Now the city has a 2 bag limit for garbage pickup every other week…I try not to feel somewhat responsible for this. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have an amazing story. What the heck was your husband keeping? I thought we were out of control with the paper in our basement file cabinets, but I see now that our shred-fest was a nothing burger compared to yours.

      Yes, I’m sure that I’d wonder, too, about the rationale behind the new 2 bag limit. It does lend itself to speculation.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I didn’t know that OCD could manifest in hoarding behavior, but now that you write that it makes sense. How difficult for you to deal with all of this after he was gone. I’m sorry you went through such a thing.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Cleaning up my bonus room has been agonizing. The next step is to clean off the computer table, then get rid of the ancient computer, monitor and printer up there. Bad weather and boredom force me into these mundane tasks. I bet you’re glad you got all of that done though. Boring as it was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret, if you figure out what to do with your old computer+ I’d love to know. We have shelves of techie stuff I don’t know what to do with. I am pleased that we shredded as much as we did, but I won’t lie– it was boring work. And dusty, too.

      Like

      1. Ally ~ Staples accepts LOTS of techie stuff for recycling. No charge. Just drop it off.

        Also, we took our old monitor, mouse, and keyboard to Habitat for Humanity and they accepted it for resale. BFF drilled through the hard drive and we tossed it.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Shred and shed – sounds good to me Ally Bean. My husband has been doing this for the last several weeks, and found it quite freeing. Sometimes the papers were used to make a bonfire – something quite exciting about that as well!!! Good luck for ongoing shedding et al …. 10 out of 10 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan, how wonderful that your husband is doing this. I understand that freedom feeling and now that we’re finished shredding the papers in the basement, I plan on never letting this happen again. 😳

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I have to shred a lot for my work since I am typing medical information so I have a shredder next to my desk all the time. Shredding our personal stuff is a different issue though. I am not so good about going through things either, but I don’t think I’m as far behind as you! I did start taking batches of things to Office Depot and had them shredded there as my little shredder will only do so much at a time. It’s worth the couple of dollars to me to have them do it as opposed to buying another shredder. The family that shreds together stays together? Sounds like a good catchphrase to me.

    Like

    1. Janet, we let this project go too long before we got to it. I figure that our first shredder, that is over 10 years old, is bound to give up the ghost, so the second one will soon be an only shredder. I didn’t know about Office Depot, but will keep that in mind… although I plan on never letting this situation happen again. I like the catchphrase. Quite… wait for it… catchy! ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ally, you can publish this or no, but this post reminded me of a post I once did at my own blog when I had to catch up on shredding. It reminded me of a similar task I had to do, microfilming documents. Why they ever entrusted that to an 18-year old, I’ll never know. Here is the link.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Last time the weather kept me inside I organized my spice rack alphabetically! In my defense I have a lot of spices.. (lasted perhaps a day and then it was back to its usual disorder.

    Like

    1. Jan, I don’t know that I could ever keep spices in alphabetical order so the fact that you kept them that way for a whole day is impressive. And a tribute to how far a person will go to be entertained when weather keeps you inside!

      Like

    1. Elen, I’m a frugal woman so the idea of a second shredder seemed excessive to me, but it turned out to be a great idea. It allowed us to keep things moving along. Lickety-split. If not for the second shredder I’m sure I’d still be in the basement feeding paper into our old one. And muttering about it all.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Betsy, I assure you’re worthy. And undoubtedly smarter than we were about letting all this paper stuff accumulate in the basement. Considering shredder #1 is over 10 years old, I’m thinking that we’ll be down to a one shredder household in a year or so. The old one is on its last leg, overheating much too often now.

      Like

        1. Laughing here. Excellent point. Good logic. I’ve lived in homes without basements and the thing is, if you have one stuff moves into it and you forget about the stuff because… basement. Who cares? ‘Tis a trap, I’m sure.

          Like

    1. Akilah, I do what I can to encourage all people to think better of themselves. Yes, I am a healer with the power to make your foibles seem insignificant when compared with mine. It’s a gift. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, when we started this project neither one of us realized how involved it was going to be. Then by the time we did, we felt like we needed to see it through. In retrospect a commercial shredding company might have been a good idea. 🤷‍♀️

      Like

  17. I have some shredding you could do, you know, while you’re in the groove.

    I don’t know if you should have shredded those tax returns from 1984. They’re valuable antiques!

    I’m really good at avoiding the boring tasks until they are crashing down on me. Sometimes literally. Like cleaning out closets, for example.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isa-Lee, the old tax returns were trippy and involved lots of staples. Old, super sturdy staples attaching important little documents to the big handwritten tax form. Nothing like our way of doing things today.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. If nothing else the software makes our tax returns less smudgy and bulky. Mailing all that paper around to people and the IRS must have cost quite a bit, even at the postal prices back then.

          Liked by 1 person

  18. Well, good for you! 🙂
    As you know, I cannot abide the clutter and paper is my nemesis. Not really, I looooove paper, but like, bound and in boxes. I am a shred as I go kinda gal. In truth, Moo is the one who shreds most of our papers. She has not yet outgrown the fascination, so I take advantage of that.
    Our filing cabinet had a breakdown shortly after we moved here. I kept saying I’d buy a new filing cabinet, but I did not.
    As for dull projects, I tend to think of it as quality married people time! We did tree-chopping last. He hates it, I love it — and when we’re done, we both stand there and marvel at the results. Can it really be dull if he uses a chainsaw?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joey, in the future we’ll be more diligent about shredding papers on a timely basis. We’re going to donate a few of our ratty file cabinets to Goodwill, just so we won’t be tempted to put off the shredding of the docs. You’re lucky to have Moo [for many reasons] who likes to shred. Does she do free lance shredding?

      I agree dull projects can become interesting marital bonding experiences. We did spend a lot of time together this last week and had fun along the way. No chain saw was involved, but there is one in our garage waiting for us to cut down a few trees out back… later this summer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It will help not to have someone else’s lifetime of papers ❤
        Donation of the cabinets is an excellent idea. Moo would totally shred your piles in exchange for anything shiny. lol

        Liked by 1 person

    1. camparigirl, another two shredder home! I was skeptical about having two, but it helped us get through this project. Now how long the old one lasts after this workout, I dunno. But bless its heart for hanging in there last week.

      Like

  19. Nothing quite as therapeutic (or tidying!) as a good shred. I believe there was a time when I was headed down the path of becoming a professional shredder. My mother used to say there was nothing that entertained me more as a child than sitting for hours ripping magazine pages into confetti. Nice going on the documents clean up Ally – and how clever of you to steer clear of the sweltering heat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deborah, you’re right. The whole process was therapeutic. Our basement is still unfinished and dusty, but there’s less stuff down there collecting more dust now. I’m sorry you didn’t get the opportunity to follow your professional shredder inclinations. But sometimes real life gets in the way. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Oh man! I could use your shredder! But here’s your award for the most boring task! I usually put off cleaning out my bedroom closet for a decade or so. I have clothes in there i can’t fit or were out of style for at least eight years. I might let them marinate a bit longer. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. L. Marie, I hear ‘ya. I’m not much for cleaning out my clothes closet, either. I always have clothes in there that don’t fit because I harbor an illusion that they’ll fit again someday. Plus if I get rid of the clothes I have I’ll have to go shopping for more clothes– and I despise doing that.

      Like

    1. Norm, I remember that ad campaign slogan! Being a notorious klutz it was exhilarating to finally find a “sport” in which I excelled. Suppose I could get it added to the Olympics? Summer or winter, doesn’t matter to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I was just looking at the massive pile of papers/bill stubs/junk I have piled up in the cubbyholes of my desk and thinking I need to take one of these days I’m off this week to declutter them. Not to shred them, of course…. no. To box them, because…. hoarder. One day when I am old and senile, I will get some kind of great joy in knowing exactly how much my electric bill cost in October 2012….

    BTW, the dog in my photo today would love to take a stab at all that trash in the picture!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. evilsquirrel13, we got a kick out of seeing some of our old bills. Especially the credit card ones that showed charges from restaurants that we liked back then, but now are out of business. The electric bills were much less thrilling. And sales receipts for furniture we bought decades ago seemed quaint, but pointless. The furniture was donated to St. Vincent de Paul years ago.

      You’re right about your dog and our trash bags. I hadn’t thought of that when I commented over on your blog, but so true.

      Like

    1. katie, being in the basement doing something during the heatwave was better than sitting around upstairs and grumbling about the heat. It was a big project, boring, but so nice to have it completed now. 😊

      Like

    1. Erika, I’m going to follow your husband’s example and start shredding our papers every few months. Never again will we have to tackle as much as we did last week, memorable as it was. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I had parents who were pack rats and because of it, I didn’t become one too. Clutter makes me crazy so I’m in constant purge mode. If I’m in a closet or drawer and see something that I question why it’s there – it’s gone – and that includes the filing cabinet.
    … but it still amazes me how much stuff has a way of accumulating while I’m not paying attention.

    There is a certain ‘fun factor’ in doing this kind of activity with someone. There is the inevitable ‘surfing the past’ that creeps in 🙂 … not to mention the incredible feeling of lightness afterwards!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne, I grew up in a *waste not, want not* environment so I was programmed to keep things, even if I had no particular use for them. These last few years I’ve been slowly getting rid of stuff that is clearly of no value to me– and boy-oh-boy were these papers in the filing cabinets of no value. 🙄

      You’re right, of course– there was some fun involved in this project. We talked about places we used to live in and places we went of vacays. But the real reward is the light feeling afterwards. And my commitment to never let this much paper clutter happen again.

      Liked by 1 person

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