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Death Cleaning the Office

The Swedes have a tradition called Death Cleaning. Older adults are supposed to purge their belongings so their children will not have to do it.

Now that I have reached a certain age, I have begun this task.

In my home office, I am taking a multi-prong approach:

  1. I have all the back issues of journals and magazines for my numerous genealogy clubs, dating back to the 1990’s. I do not refer to them very often. This summer I began going through these one-by-one, saving only helpful articles, and discarding the rest of each issue. I know I could scan the articles I want, but I like paper.
  2. Several years ago, my second cousins passed on to me their aunt’s genealogical library. She had collected material on not just our ancestors but also collateral relatives. I continue identifying new homes for books I do not need. Just yesterday a sent a genealogy on the Hanner family to a different second cousin who was thrilled to have it.
  3. My filing cabinets overflow. I need help with clearing out old files, reorganizing what I keep, and shredding the rest. My 9-year-old grandson will come over to help with this when he returns from camp later this month. He tells me he charges $5 per hour. A bargain, I would say. Maybe, in addition to earning some money, he will learn a little about his family history.

I hope my office will house less paper and fewer books by the end of the summer. I do admit that despite this effort, I may leave behind a monumental number of notes and reference books. But this summer’s death cleaning project is a start.

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