Deciding on academic papers and textbooks

What about the school work?


A number of people (both clients and friends) have asked me whether they needed to keep papers and textbooks from college or grad school. The answer depends on each client’s goals and space availability.


When I’ve asked clients how often they refer to old schoolwork, very few tell me they ever look up old material. Even fewer tell me they check their old work just to reminisce. So recycling school papers seems like an obvious paper clutter fix. Still, I understand wanting to keep a record of past achievement.


I’ve been out of college for over 10 years now, but on one trip to my parents’ house, I discovered papers I wrote and handouts from high school and college. Even though I knew I would never need them, they were materials from especially memorable classes that I really resisted getting rid of.


It’s nice to have the option to decide when I’d be ready to let go, but sometimes it’s a relief to have the decision taken out of my hands. A leaky window in my childhood bedroom soaked most of my high school memorabilia books, and they had to be thrown away. I was upset at first, but then relieved. I didn’t need them and they were cluttering the space, but it would have been very tough to throw them out on my own.


So I understand when clients struggle with what to do with past work. Readers, do you still keep your old essays and textbooks? How you decided enough is enough? New grads, are you glad to say goodbye to the books? Write in and tell your stories!

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