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Nathan's column: Out with the (really, really) old

The start of a new year is a good time to take stock of your life. To look at where you are, where you want to be and what you need to do to get there. Some people mark the occasion by making resolutions. I'm cleaning out my wallet.

Actually, that's only partially true. Mostly I'm cleaning out my wallet because the old one was falling apart and the new one is a fair amount smaller. But it's also that taking stock thing, if only because that makes me sound deep and introspective.

I am learning about myself as I go through this process. Mostly I'm learning I need to go through my wallet more often.

Consider: I had in my old wallet a membership card from Blockbuster Video and a gift card from Borders bookstore. Borders closed the last of its stores in July of 2011. There are still a handful of Blockbusters around, including one in Rosemount, but beyond that the closest appears to be in West St. Paul. The rest have been Redboxed or on-demanded into oblivion and have presumably been converted to more profitable activities like auto parts stores mattress shops or typewriter repair businesses.

My old wallet also contained a gift card from Joe's Seafood, which used to be located in Apple Valley but might have closed its doors sometime before the last Borders shopper bought a Kindle. A Starbucks gift card tucked into one of the pockets has a 2007 date on it. I suspect it was never used. I'm not sure how it came to be in my wallet.

Over the years I collected a handful of business cards and business loyalty cards for oil changes and lunches and haircuts, all partially filled and abandoned. There is a coupon for a $1 happy hour beer at Celts. I suspect it is at least five years old. How about it, Celts? Is it still good?

There is a collection of cards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association meant to inform young reporters what their rights are when authorities try to limit access to information. Now that I think about it, I don't know that I've ever actually read them.

In any case, they didn't make the cut for the new wallet. Authority figures, please don't try to limit my access to information. I fear I would be lost.

There are several ATM receipts in my wallet, which wouldn't be unusual if I hadn't gone several years without an ATM card until I finally replaced it this year. None of the receipts, it's worth noting, is from this year. There is at least one from 2005. Others are so faded I can't make anything out. I have a sneaking suspicion the coupons printed on the back have all expired. So much for that free rental at Hollywood Video (out of business in 2010).

A coupon good for $10 off at Sportsman's Warehouse expired in 2007. Judging by the find-a-store feature on the company's website, its Minnesota location expired not long after that.

Not everything is quite so useless. A subway pass from a trip to Germany made the cut for the new wallet. Aside from photos, it's about the only souvenir I've got.

I also kept a discount tag from Ralph's, a California grocery store chain. It was given to me as a reference to the movie The Big Lebowski. It has never been used.

It's possible "not useless" was the wrong term to use for those things.

There is a lesson in all of this, I suppose. Something about avoiding clutter in your life, or not hanging on to the past. I'm really not sure. I'm just happy my back pocket is so much lighter.