Completed #75 — Sort Through and Clean Out My Desk

Jan 24, 2011 by

My desk looks like this.
It is essentially a large, cluttered, unloved shelving unit on wheels.

While I do not intend to keep this desk when I move this summer, due mainly to the fact that its construction does not include a place for one to put one’s legs, which means I can’t actually write at the thing, I do need to sort through its collected contents before June.

I cannot claim that this task is anywhere near complete, but I did take a big stride forward recently when I decided to admit, finally, about five years after it was clear to everyone else, that I no longer have a use for my massive collection of scrapbooking supplies.  I haven’t made a scrapbook in years, I no longer hold on to mementos for scrapbooking purposes, and this stuff had been collecting dust (and adding weight to moving trucks) for far too long.  But what to do with boxes of paper scraps and a dozen pairs of scissors with different patterned edges?

I know that Michaels does scrapbooking workshops, so I considered donating my collection there, but I re-figured almost immediately that the reason they do those workshops is to sell their own supplies, so I might lug all this junk down there only to be turned away.  Then, an epiphany!  My pal Sarah is a preschool teacher at a public school, so I called her to see if she’d like an obscene amount of stickers.  I think we were both pretty happy about the resulting arrangement.

So, the scrapbooking supplies are history, but there is still a long way to go on this project.

UPDATE — 23 January 2010

I have done it!  Behold the desk as it was, and has been since circa 2008.

You will note, for one thing, that I had approx. one billiondy pens, pencils, and markers.  I started counting them, in order to tell you accurately what percentage of them were  dried up, burnt out, or otherwise unusable, but I got overwhelmed and just wanted to throw everything away.  So instead, I took a picture.

Please tell me if you know why any person who does not administer surveys for a living would need so very many pens and pencils, which are arguably the easiest objects on the face of the planet to come by.  It’s compulsive and totally unnecessary.  Look at the number of pencils!  I hate pencils!  I haven’t written with a pencil since I finished my calculus final in 2001!  I took logic in college specifically to avoid math SPECIFICALLY TO AVOID PENCILS.  I digress.

I used one of the 3908 notebooks I unearthed to test every last writing instrument, threw away the bad ones, selected a reasonably-sized supply of the remainder, and donated what was left to my workplace’s supply room.  What we have here is much more manageable.

Positively svelte!  (And the toothbrushes are for cleaning things.)

I found knitting needles, yarn, a book, and other paraphernalia left over from the one time in my life I tried to take up knitting, and had to stop because I gave myself headaches; I gave these things to a coworker who knits.  I found 3″x5″ floppy disks.  These I gave to Brown Elephant.

I set to work filing the archeological strata of papers in my filing cabinet, which I handily own for just such a purpose.  I have promised Miles one drawer of the filling cabinet for his use, once we move in together and set up our cozy home office (the idea of which makes me squeak with excitement), which means an extensive fumigation of THAT buncha crap is looming on the horizon.  But for the moment the desk is the thing, so papers of importance went into the filing cabinet, and papers of unimportance went…

…out to the curb to break the recycling collector’s back.  In truth, there is actually another bag of paper, but the picture would have been too much for all of us.  I had graded papers from high school.  I had the movie ticket stub of The Life Aquatic, and pretty much every other movie I saw between 1997 and 2005.  I had every scrap of paper I ever touched in college, including print outs of AIM conversations and LiveJournal comment threads (some of which… I… did keep.  shut up).  I found the huge index card I wrote all my friends’ phone numbers on and kept in my glove compartment in high school, because I had a bag phone.  Yes, a phone that not only couldn’t store phone numbers (or any information), it couldn’t leave the car at all.  I found my 11th grade school ID.  I found a quart-sized ziplock bag stuffed full of fortunes from fortune cookies.

I used to be an avid scrapbooker, and I guess I thought that I was going to come back around one day and start making those things again, and future me would really be disappointed if I lost so much as my nametag from freshmen orientation.  But you know what, at a certain point the paper doesn’t trigger memories anymore, and it’s just cluttering your life.  At a certain point, all the things you have to look forward to make you comfortable enough to part with the less significant reminders of your past.

And at that point, the big unloved shelving unit on wheels that takes up a corner of your room, becomes a somewhat more functional workstation where an adult could actually be productive.  It might even have space for the future.

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  1. Miles

    The amount of room you've left for "Wedding Stuff" is laughable. You may as well store all your shoes in the same location.

  2. Chelsea

    Thank you for mocking me on my blog. Your right to one drawer of the filing cabinet is currently being reconsidered.

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