It's true: some things get worse before they get better:
Nine days after my house mate (HM) moved out, and I'm still sorting and filing and mostly leaving it be to scan photos or make muffins. As long as I'm careful where I walk, it can stay this way for a long time.
When HM was getting ready to move, she went through all of her boxes and files and photos and papers and what-all, tossing and shredding. We're both over 60 and, like many friends our age, trying to downsize our lives. I've lived in my condo for 16 years, and the good news and bad news is that I have a two-car attached garage - and only one car. So I have lots of room for boxes of stuff I don't need or don't know what to do with (here's how that sentence would go if I refused to end a sentence with a preposition: ". . . boxes of stuff I don't . . . know with which to do").
About three bins are filled with journals and notebooks, the distinction here being that journals are like diaries and notebooks are for writing practice. I've been keeping both kinds since I was about 12. I would love to have a journal-burning, but where would I do that? Haul 'em to the midwest where they still burn piles of leaves, I guess.
After Dad died, five of his kids cleaned out his house and got rid of stuff. He didn't have much, except in his garage, where he kept his equivalent of my journals and notebooks. He tinkered. I write. We would run across things like a strip of clear plastic or a metal plate. My guess is that he kept what he thought he might need one day. I wrote a long time ago about him finding an axle in the loft of his garage. An axle. Really.
Friends have said to me, aghast, "You can't burn your journals!" Trust me - there is nothing in any of those journals that is worth reading - not even to me, and I wrote it. And the notebooks, well, that's like Dad's leftover piece of clear plastic: I might use a line or two somewhere someday - if I remembered it was in a notebook and which notebook and where the notebook resides. But probably not.
Funny thing about writers, and I suppose about most of us - that what we do matters to us, what we keep, what we store, what we remember. But it's true that my treasures are someone else's trash. And I really don't want to leave all this trash for my daughters to have to toss, which they probably would not do - they'd store it because it was mine and someday my grandkids would discover all this stuff and their kids would hoot with laughter at the fact that great-grandma wrote by hand - with a pen - on paper - in joined-up cursive writing, which they won't be able to read because it has gone the way of all things not tied to technology.
As I scan photos into my computer, I carefully box the originals. They could become artifacts, or maybe they'll also be tossed on that pile of burning leaves and journals in rural Indiana, but maybe those imagined great-grandkids will, like me, want to know the stories of where they came from and what the world was like before technology ate our brains. You never know.