Last week I realized that I’ve kept electronic records of every aspect of my business for over a decade. I wondered why I was keeping paper versions of the same, so I spent an afternoon sorting through my two-drawer hanging file cabinet. I filled six boxes with paper and drove to the shredding company.

Now I’m wondering why my electronic folders are so stuffed, and if it’s worth the time to do virtual shredding. The culprit is the successive versions that accumulate over the course of a project – the chronological record that runs from first draft to final.

I pay attention to versions because it’s my job to pay attention to clarity and context. The trail of language shows what we think will work best and why. And the language from one project often informs the next.

But honestly, I’ve never had to re-read Draft 3 when the final version was Draft 6.

So why not delete?

Maybe because my folders are well organized, my hard drive is huge and I’ve got better things to do with my time.

Then again, useless words bother me as much as useless hanging files.

What do you think? What are you hanging on to? Are you ready for the shredder?

[No deep communication insights in this link, but shredders remind me of confetti, and I’m a longtime fan of Robert Earl Keen. Enjoy!]