Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Organized Pack Rat Paradox

As soon as the school year wrapped up, I started cleaning out the library.

I took on my new job about a week and a half before school started last year. I had enough time in my new space to get a basic lay of the land, but there was a lot of material and no time to really dig into it to see what I had. All year I kept telling myself that I would sort my space out this summer.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my wish list of summer tasks is far too long to be reasonable, but cleaning out the office and organizing the library is a non-negotiable task. I have been dragging bags to the trash and recycling bins like a woman on a quest. In my frantic purging efforts, I have discovered some real treasures - resources that will be a great help to me in the coming years of teaching. But there have been moments where I have felt torn between my desperation about cleaning out and reorganizing my space and my pack rat tendencies. I hate the idea that I might throw out something I'm going to want later.

For example, I found a large stash of posters and poster boards stacked against the wall behind a box and other things I had shoved in the corner as the year was winding down. I threw away a large stack of poster projects completed by previous years' students. I reviewed book and reading-related posters, keeping ones that fit my personal style and sharing the rest with my colleagues. And I found several poster board game boards. I had no idea what sort of game they would go with, so I left those for my creative colleagues who might develop a game to go with the completed board.

Several hours after making that decision, I found the games that went with the game boards. Thankfully I was able to reclaim the boards before they disappeared. This only fueled my pack rat panic! As much as I want to purge the space and organize it anew, I also find myself thinking, "but I might want this later."

I'm afraid I will have to do this clean out again next year when I see how much of what I am saving I won't use this year, either.

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