I had a wonderfully happy experience last December.
Every December, during the holiday week between Christmas and New Years, I grab all the paperwork and old business and financial files from more than seven years ago and take them down to an industrial shredding company, where they get shredded and destroyed forever.
I’ve always enjoyed doing that for some reason. It gives me a sort of clean feeling every time I shred old documents I don’t need. Since the government requires me to keep seven years of business and financial records, I keep them, but as soon as those records become eight years old, I get them the hell out of my garage and shred ’em. It’s great.
This last December was even better. Years ago I had many boxes of old files in storage, stacks and stacks of them, just like any other business. However, in 2010 I went paperless. That means as of that year, I no longer added to the paper pile of old files in my garage.
This last December I shredded all files from 2006, leaving me with just ONE BOX of files left, containing the few files from 2007 to 2009. One box. I used to have a wall covered in boxes. Every time I moved I had to move all those damn boxes. Every time I went in my garage I had to stare at them, move them aside when I needed to find stuff, etc. (Yes, I realize I could have hired a document scanning company and digitized all those files, but that’s cost prohibitive for a small businessman like me.)
Now I’m down to just one box. One little box. I was so happy.
If you do the math, that means in two years even that box will be gone and I’ll have NO boxes of papers in my garage. How awesome is that?
If you have not yet converted your business / financial life over to a paperless one, I strongly suggest you get started. You have no idea how good it feels.