As I have admitted before, I am a self-confessed pack rat. I break out in a cold sweat at the very mention of throwing something out or giving it away. So, it is with serious trepidation that I began my annual home office decluttering. It’s more necessary than usual now that the weather is milder, because it is time for me to move from the living room back down to my office in the lower level.
I started out with clearing away the piles of stuff on every flat surface. That included the floor, the largest flat surface in the room and my favorite choice for temporary storage.
I couldn’t bear to part with my several years’ worth collection of writers’ journals. Who knows when one of those articles will become relevant for my work in progress? Sadly, they were spilling out of the converted locker room locker where they were originally stored and making a disorganized mess look messier still. I had the brilliant idea of switching them out with storage drawers that were on the closet shelves. Lots more room to stack them there. I was so proud of my ingenuity that I rushed to inform MG. He said, “Yeah, but are you ever going to read any of them again?”
Since I barely have time to read all my email every day, I had to admit that his observation was entirely incisive—the party pooper. Maybe someday I’ll feel secure enough to break the hold the journals have on me—but not that day.
As I plowed through additional closet shelves and into file drawers, I discovered many more Items that had aged beyond their expiration date while in storage. Numbered among them were years-old calendars and telephone directories, ancient printer cables, old keyboards and computer mice, and outdated computer programs—Windows based programs that dated way back earlier than 2011 when I switched to the MacBook Pro. Some were pre-turn of the century—on 3½ inch floppy discs no less. Worthless, of course.
I yanked open another storage drawer to find a trove of 3½ inch floppy discs. It was a pitiful sight. The poor little things were orphaned back up discs from days of yore when I owned a PC mini tower, which now resided in the PC graveyard in Microsoft heaven. The only reason the discs were still in my possession was that I hadn’t opened that drawer in at least a decade. I was oblivious to their existence in all that time, and in all that time they had outlived their usefulness. They had to go. I put them in the toss sack, that was next to the file sack, that was next to the keep sack, that was next to the shred sack.
The Saturday before Mother’s Day, I went to the bank to update my accounts following my little local bank being acquired by a national behemoth bank. While there, I got some items out of my safe deposit box. The box seemed crowded, so I emptied it out to see if I could rearrange things in a neater fashion, an unprecedented action for me to take. I reached all the way to the back of the box, the part that is covered, and drew out a disc wallet containing eleven 3½ inch floppy discs. These were backup discs as well, and the safe deposit box was where I stored them off site, replacing them once a week with updated discs. It was a process I abandoned when I got my first laptop with its CD-ROM drive and no floppy disc drives. I forgot all about the discs in the safe deposit box.
After I added the eleven safe deposit box floppies to their siblings in the toss sack, a spark of creativity lit a fire under my decluttering drudgery. I was unpinning old notes from my cork bulletin board when the inspiration came to me. I would repurpose those old 3½ inch floppy discs. I would save them from the landfill and use them to brighten up my office instead. The plan is to take all these colorful 3½ inch floppy discs and give the bulletin board a makeover by gluing them to the board’s wooden frame.
All that is left to do now is persuade MG to let me use his workshop and maybe some of his tools to embark on my project. Hmmm… That may prove to be the most difficult part of the project.