I’m going on a trip soon where I’ll need my birth certificate. I looked everywhere downstairs and found nothing! I headed upstairs to look through the hall closet where all of my old work files are stored. I just knew it had to be in there! Well this is how my search went…

1. I got the bright idea that I would clean out the closet while looking for the birth certificate! BAD IDEA. I didn’t realize it’s been nearly 10 years since I’d gone through most of that closet!

2. I came across an envelope with my dad’s funeral card, his will (where he left me his deepest love among a few other personal items), his last emails to me which I found on my computer after I returned home from his funeral. Then came the tears… and laughter because the last email he sent was hilarious!

3. I found my son’s baby book. More tears… this time for my daughter because she has nothing of the sort! And also because I had not ONE wrinkle in any of the photos. Amazing what 8 years with kids can do to your skin!

4. Then I found some old photos of my family that I looked through for who knows how long?

5. I threw away stacks of old receipts and forms. Not knowing if I need to keep them or not?

6. I forgot I had planned to start a party planning business way back in 1999. This must have been during my first pregnancy when I had lots of energy and nothing else to do! ha. I found all of my documents from my big plan. My business was going to be called Amy’s Adventures. (It’s interesting that I now have a blog and shop about parties.) I even found sketches of my potential logo.

7. I also found documentation that I used to own the domain name amysadventures.com. Look at what I found when I typed in that URL. Maybe I should have kept that one??

Not only is my hallway a huge mess right now, but I’m emotional, tired from staying up late and I still haven’t come close to finding the birth certificate! Mom, if you’re reading this… do you have a copy?

So I need an organizer.

I need to not be so tied to things. I need to throw the stuff away. I need to have a place to put things.

Did I say I need an organizer?

How about you?

Could you throw out your logo sketches from 10 years ago? Get rid of your Dad’s last emails? Do you know when you can throw out business and tax documents? Any organizers out there?

UPDATE: After all of that searching… my mom did have my birth certificate! 🙂

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  1. You are super lucky to have the emails and things from your dad. I would say get a keepsake box or 3 ring binder type photo album. That way all of your memory stuff is together and safe.

    As for old logos…trash them unless you want to put them up somewhere for inspiration?

    The rule of thumb for old documents is seven years…just make sure you shred all of it.

    The best thing I have found when cleaning out a specific area, like a closet, is to have a few boxes or bins (I like to use laundry baskets) Have a keep, relocate, donate and then of course TRASH BAGS! I recommend the big construction grade ones…the hold tons of stuff and don’t tend to rip open easily.

    For all important papers…birth certificates, home insurance papers, savings bonds, bank books, copy of credit card #’s etc we have a small fire box….$30 at Walmart. That way you only have to keep track of one thing…the box!

  2. Ah yes the old overwhelmed by distraction technique. That’s pretty common actually. It’s only natural as many of these things you haven’t seen in a long time. When you find yourself getting distracted like that, I often recommend saying to yourself..as soon as I find what I’m looking for this will be my reward. Or as soon as I complete this organizing project, my reward will be to look at all my old yearbooks. Sentimental clutter is hard. If you aren’t ready to part with it just yet, how about consolidating it all together into one memory bin.

    Glad you found your certificate!!

  3. Oh, I can SOOOO relate!! 🙂 Have done just what you describe so many times, and yes, I am still not much better about letting go of things. I’ll start a pile of things to do away with but usually end up grabbing it all and proclaiming that it just cannot be done “today”…perhaps, another day I will be in more of a letting go mode. But, I am proud to share that I “let go” of a rather large (huge) storage unit in another town after having it for about 6yrs…Yikes!!…did I really just admit that?!! Well, of course, most of the things inside belonged to my hubby…ok, you know better than that! haha You should have seen all the stuff! I honestly don’t even know how we could have accumulated that much! In my defense though, I did have to very hurriedly put things in storage before heading to Kuwait to live for a few years. I’m sure if I had had time to go through it…well, of course, I would have “let go” of a lot it! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!! LOL

    At least it’s good to know you are not alone! 🙂 Happy to have found your blog.

  4. I used to be really organized. Then I had kids. It’s equally as hard to dispose of their masterpieces, cards, crafts and “For you, Mommy” items. I hope you get some great input and post about it. I could use some help too.

  5. I love to organize but when there are emotions attached to the stuff it is very hard to go through and purge and I tend not to go there voluntarily unless, like you, there is an immediate need. When my mom moved into a senior apartment, I was shocked when she handed me a manila envelope of cards she saved from my childhood. I don’t know whether it was surprising to see what she cherished or that it was so small, you know, no big boxes of mementos. It just goes to show, we (me), don’t need half of the stuff we keep.

    And another thought that might make it easier to get rid of stuff, I once heard that it’s our children who are really making the memories for us as parents more than the other way around. I’ll say to my guys 19 and 22, ‘remember when…’ and they say ‘no’ so I guess this is true. 🙂

    Oh, and it’s 7 years for tax/audit purposes. 🙂

  6. Woot! Your recipe for Easy Chocolate Caramel Apples is one of the featured ones on the Tasty Kitchen post today! :<)

  7. Amy, You are so talented you have an excuse not to be organized! I’m the opposite, not very creative, but VERY organized. Before kids, I used to be a Professional Organizer. I miss the days of coming into someone’s house (like yours) and helping them separate sentiment from reality. I love the look of satisfaction and relief when I’m done with a job. I sure you had a little of that after your closet (and hallway 🙂 were complete.

  8. @Janna,

    You’re right… it feels really good to get rid of things. I need to remember the end result, an organized clean closet!

  9. @Leea,

    I have my dad’s coast guard uniform too and all of his photo slides. I will never get rid of that stuff. I would probably have kept the message if I had one too! I actually met Peter Walsh at Walmart one day. He was there for a book tour and I got to talk to him before it started. He told me I wouldn’t want him at my house… he said he makes people cry. ha!

  10. I am so with you! I have pretty much saved all my dad’s things, I have a box from his locker at work, his army uniform, a voice recording (a message he left on my uncle’s answering machine a week before he died) that is only my dad, not to mention my grandparent’s….If Peter Walsh came to my house there might be a problem (he tends to make you get rid of sentimental clutter) ….I am bound and determined that I will make a dent this summer in my clutter before I go back to the madhouse that is work (school) I have found that making a detailed list of the steps, and only do a few steps a day I get more accomplished !

  11. @Pam D,

    I like the dumpster idea. I seriously need one too! 🙂 I think I’ll throw out those sketches now. Besides… it’s on my blog if I ever decide to use it someplace. Seems like my junk is getting moved over to digital files now. That’s what I do with my kid’s art now is take photos and throw out the original.

  12. @Amandalynn Jones,

    Yes! That’s exactly what I do… shuffle it around and pretend it’s organized. ha!

  13. I am very much a purger/organizer; however, with that being said, I tend to go the complete opposite extreme with sentimental items…I probably keep too many of those, but they are organized in plastic tubs/bins.
    I would definitely keep those emails and personal items from your dad – they would be treasures to me.
    This is an area that my husband & I couldn’t be further apart on, because he is a pack rat, and it drives me crazy!! I typically do my kids’ sorting/purging when they’re in school, and my husband’s when he’s gone, as to avoid confrontation, because they’ve never missed anything specific yet! 🙂
    I’ll get off my soapbox now……happy sorting & purging Amy!

  14. I am a “purger” –not organized, but I simply go through every few months and purge!!! It’s so liberating! With that said…I think that you experience last night was a blessing…how touching to find those emails from your Dad, relive those early memories of your sons baby years and get rid of some junk!

  15. I have no organizing tips, by my closet searches go very much like this as well. Old letters from my grandfather, drawings I did 10 years ago, pictures from when I was in college, a ribbon I won in 10th grade, etc… I just keep shuffling it around to different shelves and totes and pretend that it’s “organized”

  16. Hmm. I am the wrong person to ask, because I have a TON of things that need to be thrown out. I’ve said, NOT jokingly, for the past 3 years, that I need a DUMPSTER for my birthday. I am convinced that someday, my hubby will take me seriously.
    In the meantime, I just cannot imagine throwoing away the last things sent to me by my dad. Mine never, used email, but anything I have now that was personalized from him has become precious. It’s like beachfront property; it’s finite. So, I would say don’t throw out his emails, etc, but do clean out things like logos that you didn’t use 10 years ago and won’t use now. But again, don’ t listen to me… lol.

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