Monday, February 3, 2014

Filing cabinets-attempting to sort and declutter

uncluttered view in my attic...
I have a book somewhere that tells is how creative people can be organized.  I think one component is that you are supposed to be able to see your "stuff".  Well if you go up to my attic you can see lots of my "stuff" as I have files in three open cardboard boxes from school, just in case.  I also have a real (not very good) two drawer filing cabinet.  I also have two accordian type file boxes...There were also other files just laying around from the last time I needed some document.  One goal before I retired or at least moved what I wanted to keep of my school "stuff" home, was to clean out said filing cabinets and there was also an idea of getting rid of this filing cabinet and getting one that was better.  Hmm... well that didn't exactly happen. 

I am going away soon for a couple of weeks so that this inspired me to get to work on cleaning out the filing cabinet.  It started Saturday afternoon and continued Sunday afternoon.  And now there is a lot less in the filing cabinet but the other files are still in those cardboard boxes.

There is a feeling of liberation as you put work from the past into the recycling.  And a freedom of getting rid of articles you never read and now feel no need to read.  You let go of materials for workshops you never plan to give again.  You let go of materials that might have been good if you wanted to write a research article but know that time has past.

You find teaching reports, letters of reference, letters of commendation...I make sure I keep at least one copy.  It is always nice to read nice comments about your ability to do your work (the most amusing is when someone has said I am organized?!)

There is the divorce decree, the house ownership papers, the record of insurance claims, ten years of income tax records, the cat's medical history and the car's.

You find things that you vaguely knew were there.  I read the essay I wrote about Stanstead County when I was in grade eight and the letter that  the newspaper editor of the local paper wrote to me when my principal/teacher sent it to him.  There  is the little history of my hometown that four of my fellow students also later wrote that was published as a small book.  Now that was kind of a remarkable teacher. 

I find writing that I did in a couple of intensive writing courses I did summers long ago.  As I read over one piece I am reminded of a kindness long ago by someone with whom I have recently reconnected. 

There are the letters I wrote to my ex-husband when I went to Japan, China, and Hong Kong with a friend now dead...There is the journal I kept on my trip to Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands.  No time to read today but definitely later.

I find family history material from both sides of my family. 

As I get rid of some "stuff" I begin planning to maybe revisit this writing, write it up, maybe share, maybe even do a bit more research.  

It's kind of mentally exhausting doing this kind of "work" and not sure why I chose a sunny afternoon to do it though it was pleasant in my attic office workroom.  And I really hadn't spent much time at home this week.

The problem with filing cabinets is you can't really see into them and it's easy to keep them closed and somewhat forgotten until there is an emergency of some sort.  I had two full sized four drawer ones in my classroom now reduced to those three cardboard boxes and now there actually is one empty drawer available in the attic.  With computers you really probably don't technically need physical filing cabinets  but for now I do and hopefully open them more often...