Getting closure06 December 2012
Someone asked me why I was going to such effort to clear out my flat, rather than just calling in some workmen to do it. Clearouts are not nice as-is, and throwing out what is basically most of my personal history is predictably at times depressing. To make matters worse, insanities regarding Bristol's waste disposal services meant that a significant portion was disposed of in Hertfordshire. So why press ahead?
The main reason is closure, and digging through it all without regards for preservation allows memories to be put to rest. Although nowhere near as sentimental as I used to be, and only a minority (mostly financial stuff) of it is confidential, it is not something I would want Jo Public to be going through. And there has definitely been things I would not want them to see.
There is also benefit of unearthing things one is not explicitly looking for, as the idea you should only look for things you know about is a road to disaster when disposing such a large amount of unchecked and mostly unordered material. The biggest unexpected find was salary statements from before and during my PhD, which is a massive benefit - it means that I can substantiate all work experience I claim, which anyone who understand CV auditing will understand. I may still be unable to prove how long I worked there, but I can prove the job is not complete fiction.
Of course there is also a silver lining. In a flat of this size, a significant amount of money ends up in odd places. The odd unopened Red Envelope is a slight extreme, but add in a box or two of discarded silvers and a rummage down the back of every sofa & cabinet and the whole effort pays for itself. This weekend alone I banked £480, and the only reason it was not higher was the bag limit that banks impose. Despite the 9% commission, there is something satisfying about pouring 8 kilograms of coppers into the supermarket coin machine.