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A guide to storing your most sensitive documents
Shower? Bathroom? Scattered all over the floor? The possibilities are endless.
 
Today, let’s focus on a small area of personal improvement, as Marie Kondo would suggest: document storage.
Today, let’s focus on a small area of personal improvement, as Marie Kondo would suggest: document storage. [ WIN MCNAMEE | Getty Images North America ]
Published June 13, 2023|Updated June 13, 2023

At times, we must all take stock of bad habits and try to reform them. Eating too much sugar. Interrupting others. Not sleeping well. Stacking documents six boxes high next to the crystal sconce above the toilet.

About the last one: Recent absurdist indictments show that certain people may need certain interventions in certain areas. I’m talking about a former U.S. president and current Florida Man whose name rhymes with Klump, like the Nutty Professor.

Now, there are not enough pages on the internet to cover the forms of psychological, spiritual and legal help from which Mr. Slump could benefit. And although history will show that this is perhaps not a man who humbly learns from mistakes and tries to self-actualize, maybe the rest of us can.

Today, let’s focus on a small area of personal improvement, as Marie Kondo would suggest: document storage.

Paperwork is overwhelming! I mean, if I were planning to squirrel away thousands of government writings, many revealing potentially disastrous secrets for mankind, the way others collect snow globes from memorable vacations to the Hoover Dam, you would definitely see such annals scattered about the floor beside Discover card offers and falafel coupons from the Valpak.

This image, contained in the indictment against former President Donald Trump, shows boxes of records on Dec. 7, 2021, in a storage room at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach that had fallen over with contents spilling onto the floor.
This image, contained in the indictment against former President Donald Trump, shows boxes of records on Dec. 7, 2021, in a storage room at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach that had fallen over with contents spilling onto the floor. [ UNCREDITED | AP ]

I’m just saying, as a fellow filing system failure, I can only nod affirmingly at the U.S. Department of Justice photos. Scarily, it does compute that this onetime leader of the free world would allegedly order goons to bundle the nation’s most sensitive materials in nonwaterproof cardboard boxes at Mar-a-Lago, in FLORIDA, at times in HURRICANE SEASON, in PALM BEACH, which is 7 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL. It does feel right that he would, according to officials in sunglasses, store flagrant slices of confidential trees in MOIST areas including a bathroom and a shower. It tracks to visualize him sleeping in a gilded palace, spooning intel on the vulnerabilities of our allies the way I fell asleep on my insurance card last week.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, stacks of boxes are seen in a bathroom and shower in the Lake Room at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
In this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, stacks of boxes are seen in a bathroom and shower in the Lake Room at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. [ U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE | Getty Images North America ]

I don’t personally share a desire to show diplomatic secrets to, like, Kid Rock. But you’re talking to someone who once discovered her unframed university diploma inside a kitchen cabinet, wedged under a muffin tin and splattered with grease. Likewise, when I recently needed to locate my COVID-19 card, I ambushed my spouse at the last possible second and said, “DO YOU KNOW WHERE MY VACCINE CARD IS? MINE IS THE ONE THAT’S SHREDDED AT THE TOP.” Furthermore, I once sent my passport across town in a purse I loaned a friend.

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These are true stories, and I see no point in hiding them. If Gonald Jawn Frump was any kind of normal person, the first step would be admitting he had a problem. He may be thinking, “But I had a system. The North Korea letters were in the steam room next to the hurricane map with the cone of uncertainty doctored in Sharpie.” Let me tell you: Every disorganized person references the bulletproof nature of her system right before being late to her own wedding because she can’t find the marriage license.

Let’s consult the tidy gurus at Real Simple for next steps, provided next steps aren’t “prison for the duration of natural life.” Specifically, let’s read 10 Tips to Help You Get Organized (Once and For All!).

Tip 3 states baby steps are crucial to success. The Honorable Grump should tackle sorting, say, one box of classified documents at a time, not all boxes. Maybe start with “Weapons Capabilities: Domestic” and work out to the rest of the world?

Tip 5 is to make the payoff visible. The Feds have helped with that already. Mar-a-Lago should be looking much tidier now; it’s a shame to hide all that marble and paisley under such drab bankers boxes.

Tip 7 is to get others involved, which ... yeah, check.

The final tip is key. This is a long game. Once everything has a home, you must help your future self by putting things back where they belong. In this case, the items belong in evidence. I think we can all agree we’ve made real progress today.

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