I’ve had the immense pleasure recently of helping my mother declutter her office. It’s a big job and will take us many weeks, but fortunately she is keen to be part of the process. Not only that, but she is OK with letting go of lots of paper that has filled her office for years. Part of our process is scanning some of the material to digital form. The files that we are keeping in paper form fall into three categories: archives (important documents including photos), current documents (receipts or bills to be dealt with soon), and what I think of as memory aids. These last include her collections of ephemera from trips she has taken over the years, many of them to the UK for family reunions. Each trip’s folder contains tickets, brochures, receipts and her own diary, usually written in a tiny coil-bound notebook. Most of this will eventually hit the bin, but not before she uses it to recall and write about the wonderful memories that made each trip exceptional. Without her to bring delightful and important meaning to each bundle, it’s just a pile of useless paper.