hoarding vs. purging

okay, one of these days i will actually get to sit still in my office and focus on cleaning it. i swear. today was the first day in a long time that i came in to campus, but i had a 3-hour meeting and then a 2-hour lunch and all of a sudden it was 4.30pm and i was in my friend's office, nicking things from his iTunes library, and then it was 5.30pm and i was like, "omg i have so much email to reply to," and i ended up doing that for a long time, and now it's time to go home. argh. maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

i think one of my problems is that i've been in this office for 8 years, which means i've accumulated a fair amount of stuff, and i know full well that i haven't used or even looked at a whole bunch of it… but somehow it feels wrong to throw it away. like, if i'm being honest, there are tons of articles in my file cabinet that i only have because i read them for a class in grad school, and i've never looked at them again. but it feels so weird to throw that away. it's knowledge! what if i need to refer to it someday?! i know this is ridiculous, but i can't help it. it's the same with textbooks. i have a pretty good variety of textbooks that i received merely because someone, somewhere, thought i might be interested in taking a peek (i've developed quite a collection of interpersonal texts, for example), and they just sit on my shelf. every once in awhile i take one down to see if they have a cool chart i can use or a good activity or discussion question, but that's it. i think i've been trained to build my knowledge base and i'm having a tough time deciding what to pitch.

i also have a mountain of dissertation data, plus follow-up data, that i collected before it was cool to collect data online. all of the quantitative stuff is in SPSS already, but some of it is qualitative, and still needs to be coded, so i can't just say, "awesome, it's in SPSS, let's throw these paper copies away!" bummer. that data is taking up four entire shelves on one of my bookcases, and i really should think about how to manage it better. maybe i need a research assistant who (whom?) i can convince to enter all the qualitative data. heh.

argh, so much paper. this office is killing me. i think i need to set some ground rules and just be brutal with myself. i will be SO happy when this office is cleaned out and pretty and simple, i really can't wait. i just need to figure out the best way to get it there. 

One comment

  1. one of the things that helps me purge is purposefully giving the books, data, etc that are ‘useful’ to someone else whom they are useful to. and i think to myself, if there is no one, then maybe they really aren’t that useful (i’m ignoring your work speciality). i donate A TON of books to the library. perhaps some of those books could go to one of the libraries near you (school, public)?
    good luck!

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