My goal this weekend is to tidy my office. Wait, that sounds too British—not that “tidy” isn’t a perfectly proper verb in any English speaking nation, but used in this sense, it’s a typical British understatement.
Because my office needs a lot more than “tidying”. It needs a wall-to-wall overhaul. A colonic cleanse. A therapeutic purge.
I’ve got bits and bobs (now there’s a good Britishism!) from seven years ago, when we moved into this house. I’ve got staples for a stapler I haven’t seen since Blair was in office. I’ve got labeled folders from jobs I held eight years ago. I’ve got notebooks full of scribbles I made during the history courses I took at Oxford, handouts passed out in classes whose content I can barely remember. Photos are stuffed into my antique Wellington chest, all seven drawers filled with jumbled sets of prints—Daughter Number One’s first birthday in one drawer alongside her sister’s infant passport photos; my trip to Central America mixed up with my first research trip to Philadelphia in another.
In my desk are electronic gadgets so outdated they’d be laughed at in the Third World. An early iPod, lovingly engraved with my anniversary (can’t get rid of that!) and the Palm Pilot that quit working after the movers mistakenly packed it into a box destined for the slow-boat overseas shipment. There are cords whose original purpose has long been forgotten; printer cartridges waiting in vain to be recycled.
Yesterday I discovered a ream of lavender 8 1/2 by 11 paper. (Did I not realize “purple prose” was a figure of speech, not meant to be taken literally?) Christmas cards, stationary, notepads…none of which will ever be used. I send e-cards and take digital notes these days.
Today’s mail contained more bits—the dog’s insurance papers, which really ought to be filed somewhere, but then I’d have to decide what to do with my last dog’s file…and that’s a decision I should sleep on. (I still have her ashes too, above the book case—can’t decide what to do with them, no matter how hard I sleep on it.)
I need to sort, file, dispose, and organize. I need to reassess what’s important, what’s worth keeping, and what’s best sent to the tip. (A “tip”, for my American friends, is what you’d call a “dump”, but “tip” sounds so much cleaner.)
Out with the old, in with the new—and I use the term “new” figuratively, because I really do subscribe to the feng shui belief that a cluttered environment inhibits creativity as well as prosperity.
I just don’t practice the belief often enough. Obviously.