After transferring beer the other night, I shifted my gaze to the 4-drawer file cabinet sitting next to my brewing stand. It’s jammed full of files that date back to my house in the city–phone, water, and utility bills I don’t need and will never have to refer to. I loaded up Top Gear USA on my iPad and started sifting through the drawers, making a stack of paper about a foot high, and within an hour I’d winnowed out all of the 620 South Lakewood stuff into two piles: shredding and non-shredding.
I found the final mortgage bill for my rowhome, the details of which still take my breath away: a monthly payment of $515.40 at an APR of 6%. My utility bills averaged about $90 for the month. Why did we move to the suburbs again?
I found an unused registration sticker for Chewbacca. I found a copy of the city-drawn plat for 620 S. Lakewood. I found piles of old illustration mailing lists, including a carefully hand-drawn graph of geographic regions cross-referenced by what postcards they’d been sent and when. I got all of my tax records in order from 1993 until we were married. I found utility bills from 620, some in the name of my old girlfriend.
Then I started shredding in front of the Texans-Steelers game, stopping only when the motor on our little shredder got so hot it refused to run and I’d filled a trash bag full of spidery paper. There’s still about 6″ of phone bills and mortgage statements to go through, as well as some medical bills, and I’m not done culling the drawers. I’ve got a stack of twice-used manila folders to recycle and a pile of rusty paper clips to throw out.
I set aside stack of utility bills for our current house, put them in order, and scanned them into PDFs at work this morning in preparation for the shredder. I’m thinking about entering some of the year-over-year data into Excel to look at trends, now that we’ve been here over ten years: things like our average monthly bill, therms and kWh used, and average monthly temperatures. It would be interesting to see how it graphs out, considering our first couple of bills averaged ~$700/mo. (it’s come down considerably since then).
As I think about it, scanning our old mortgage statements and water bills isn’t a bad idea either, so I’ll probably bring those in tomorrow. (The scanner at work has an auto-feed, which makes life so much easier). As a matter of fact, I think I’m going to organize and scan as much paper in as possible and then shred it. I’d also like to organize an automated download of bank records and mortgage statements, given that our bank only lets us go back a certain number of months.