April 10, 2006

Office cleaning

We are shuffling around campus offices in my department. A work crew has been here all week, putting up drywall, creating another new office space. Bookcases and file cabinets are piled everywhere, along with cardboard boxes of stuff that I am sure was very important at one time. I am moving from an office I've been in for the last ten years to another office just down the hall.

Moving is healthy. That's what I always say. It will give me time to sort through files, toss out stuff I don’t need any more, organize my books, and find things I've been missing for years. It's always good to have to look at my office and think of how I want to arrange it to accommodate changing needs. Now that I have a laptop computer, I am thinking that my desk is not as important as it used to be. I want a comfy chair instead.

So, yes, this process should be healthy and good for me and all that.

But like so many things that are healthy in the long run, I hesitate to even begin. I am a pack rat, and my office shelves are filled with not just the usual books and papers, but all kinds of interesting things: a set of rusty leghold traps, a bag of Barbie dolls, several plastic snakes, military action figures, stones and feathers, gendered party favors from kids' parties, mugs with clever sayings on them, maps, a round slice of wood from a Woodsmen’s demonstration, a log from the sycamore tree that used to be out in front of the building, crayons and markers, boxes of words, wooden lizards, shells and pine cones, a little statue of a monk, a piece of wood from an old barn, bottles of sand art, video tapes and slides and postcards from students. My file cabinets are stuffed full, with fascinating stuff that I might use some day if I ever get around to it.

Yeah, I am sure it will be healthy to go sort through it all, throw things out, dust things off. Maybe I'll start tomorrow.

19 comments:

Squirrely Jedi said...

Your office sounds fascinating. Good luck with the move.

Terminaldegree said...

I am in the middle of a big office-cleaning right now myself. It is a daunting task, and I've only been in one place for five years.

I am amazed by how much stuff we humans have the ability to accumulate!

Have fun. (Well, not fun, maybe, but turn on some great music. That helps me a little.)

mc said...

The stuff on your shelves is always the kind of stuff that makes my head hurt when moving -- I mean, wouldn't it stink if you threw out the plastic snakes and then came up with some great use for them just a couple days later??? ;)

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Boxes of words? How intriguing!

jess said...

I have a hankering for an organizing project like that...but of course it stops being enjoyable when you MUST do it.

Rana said...

Sounds like some of my offices. In a good way.

Does the new office have a window?

RageyOne said...

It is amazing the stuff that we accumulate over time.

sp said...

Every year in April I move my desk from my normal lab (note: NOT an office which I would strongly prefer since I am mainly a lecturer) to the Teaching Lab. I teach an intensive lab course Spring Quarter and it's better if I am there all day than if I'm over here. I just cleaned off my desk over here in preparation for the move and threw away a ton of stuff. It shocks me how much junk I keep around. And now I feel so free! Moving is great!

jo(e) said...

Jennifer: I do creative workshops in the schools so boxes of words come in very handy.

Rana: Yes, the new office has a window that looks out at the quad so that I can see if anything cool is going on.

susan said...

So where'd the bag of barbies come from?

medieval woman said...

what's a leghold trap? Is it for problem students??

juniper68 said...

This list got my in McGiver going - "I will escape from this locked, windowless room using only this leghold trap, this barbie and this bottle of sand art..."

Camera Obscura said...

"Move" is a four-letter word.

'Nuff said.

BeachMama said...

Kudos to you, I hate moving. I hope you are able to go to your new office everyday instead of walking absentmindedly into your old one!

Have fun going through everything, it sounds like quite a collection.

KathyR said...

My kid used to make those sand art things in summer camp. And them shake them up.

Good luck with the move.

Scrivener said...

I love moving precisely because it allows for that sort of reexamination of all the stuff and of how I use a space.

I've only been in my current office for a year, and I'm already starting to gather some interesting crap in there. I hope someday I get to be in a space for ten years, not only so I can see what sort of stuff accumulates!

Jesse said...

I always want to throw things out, but I rarely do. Generally due to the fact that most of the time when I DO manage to throw something out I find a need for it nearly immediately after it is gone.

However, there is a part of me now that wants to get rid of almost everything I own. I feel "stuff" is holding me down.

peripateticpolarbear said...

You could just create a box of "stuff I might use someday. I did that the last time I moved offices. Seemed to work. haven't opened it though.

jo(e) said...

The bag of Barbies was given to me by a colleague -- I think he had gotten them from his daughter -- and I have used them sometimes during units on ecofeminism, when we talk about how rigid gender roles are taught and perpetuated in our culture. Undergraduate students love to analyze toys, media ads, and kids' books.

I found the leghold traps while hiking through the marsh up at camp. They weren't tagged (which makes them illegal) so I took them home with me and brought them to school for some students to use on a presentation about trapping. I have some students who are trappers, and I have some students who are animal rights activists. It makes for interesting discussions.

PPB: Yeah, I have boxes labelled "Stuff" at home from the time we moved six years ago. I have no idea what is in there.