My wife is a paper hoarder.

In our file cabinet we had hard copies of all our tax files going back to the mid 90s.  We had hard copies of every bill from all our suppliers and all the credit card monthly details going back at least 10 years.  Pat makes a hard copy of everything and never throws anything out.

The 4 high file cabinet was so laden I was concerned that it might crack the concrete in the basement.  I had correctly decided when we moved in here that the future weight of the hoarding should not be on a wooden floor truss  so I put it in the basement (in my workshop bathroom).

It finally became apparent that we needed to dispose of some of this huge pile of paper before the cabinet toppled on me when I was using the John and killed me.

So today we scrupulously went through hoard and we came up with a pile of paper easily 4 feet high (1.2 meters)

Now all of these had identification information on us, plus details of our financials and bank accounts and social insurance numbers, so recycling was not an option.  We had to destroy them and it would have taken days to shred it and would have likely worn out the shredder (we are on our second in 7 years because Pat wore out the first)

I had this great idea that we should take the pile down to the beach, find a fire pit and burn it.  Problem is that the beaches around here have restrictions on fires after labour day and it was also very windy.

We finally found one of those round steel fire pits at a quiet beach area.  Then we set forth to burn our records.  It took over an hour of feeding in papers while the flames roared and ashes flew (it was windy)  At one point I recognized that we were duplicating the efforts of the American Embassy staff in Iran in 1979 trying to burn all the records before the students broke in.  We did not have a fire permit and expected at any time some warden to come and catch us.

One old lady walked by with her dog and shrilly commented “Well you should be Recycling those Papers”  I felt that I should tell her that she should have a baggie for her dog poop , but did not.

Finally finished and we both smelled like a campfire.  I think in the future we should shred as we go.