Things Saved, Things Thrown Away

Following are a few things we rescued and others that we have piled on the front curb.

Saved: tax receipts. I kid you not, they were one of the first things I carried to safety. Until you are looking Armageddon square in the eye, you do not realize how central to your being the I.R.S. is. I have a highly unscientific way of filing my receipts for the year: I throw them into a wooden crate in my office closet and then, 15 months later, on April 1, I dump them onto the living room floor and organize them into piles with titles like “electric.”

Times reporter Michael Winerip has a really nice post about what he tried to save when flood waters from Sandy began rushing into his home in Long Beach. Much of what he saved were financial documents, which is a smart thing to do, but also, what a thing to think about grabbing as your home is being destroyed! The other things he began rescuing were family heirlooms—many things that used to belong to his mother, like a chipped cookie jar.

Other than a box of financial statements, and my laptop, I could probably lose everything else in my apartment and replace it all later. All my family heirlooms are still with my parents in their home in California (which could also be suddenly destroyed in an earthquake), and things like photos are all stored somewhere in the cloud. Of course, I’m young and don’t have my own family right now, but nearly everything I own right now could be replaced.

Another thing Winerip’s post shows: A lot of the things he ended up tossing—newspaper clips spanning decades of his career, old progress reports from his children—were things he thought he could never let go until the time came to let them go.



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