It is commonly assumed that most genealogists are packrats. I admit that I am guilty. I tend to hold onto anything that I think is even remotely related to my family history. Needless to say, I have accumulated quite an amount of paper and other “stuff” over the years. Since I am also a writer, I also have files of information for research related to articles and book projects. Some may say, “throw out what is not absolutely needed,” “purge those files,” etc. Granted, I know I can be a bit more selective in what I keep and definitely better organized. However, today I concluded that I am glad I tend to lean on the side of caution before I shred or toss items.
I first started conducting research for my book Three Slovak Women some 16 years ago. I have many file boxes with various documents that I saved even after the book was published. Thank goodness I did.
I am currently working on another book project that requires me to consult some of the same sources and materials I previously used (for TSW). There is a substantial amount of information that I am able to use and if I had to go back and look up the information again it would probably take me several years. Instead, I have what I need to hand and now I can concentrate on my writing instead of looking for the information.
So, whether you are a genealogist or a writer you never know when you might use information you previously gathered, filed away and most likely have forgotten.
Yes, being a “packrat” does have its benefits.