Monday, February 24, 2014

Things forgotten...

Today I needed a file folder.
In a wacky "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"* scenario, it led to a marathon of decluttering in my office.

Decluttering, as it turns out, is fascinating from an archaeological standpoint. You find so many things you have forgotten-

1. Things you can still use
    I found many more file folders than expected, but also cool magnets, paper clips, and my favorite--these SWEET pencils I received over fifteen years ago but never used.
    That's going to change, this week.

    2. Things you have outgrown    

    Oh my.  When's the last time you used a floppy disk mailer?  And I got this geometer in 1996--I barely used it when I was teaching geometry, and this one is BROKEN.  Why do I still have it?  I found touch-up paint for a car I sold years ago. These things are filling my recycling bin and trash can.
    (The paper from an old dot matrix printer, though--that I am taking to work for the kiddos.)

    3. Things you got aspirationally 

    You can have grand grand ideas for something with wonderful reasons, but if it's not you, well... it may not ever happen.  For me, this is the story of two-thirds of the craft supplies in my house.  I wanted to be That Mom who encouraged her children to be artistic and gave them time to express themselves in various messy ways!  And yet, that's just not me. (To be fair, even when we did bust out the supplies, it was rarely what my kids wanted to do, either...)  I let the family go through this box, and almost all of it is going to the craft cabinets at work.

    4. Things cherished, but put away in long-forgotten corners (sometimes accidentally)

    Imagine my surprise to find ultrasounds of my children between empty binders and folders.  And cutesie foam photo flowers from preschool... there were cards from cherished friends and letters of thanks, a couple stories I had written, and many other things I nearly squealed to see.  Hiding in just another box of materials.  Obviously, these were celebrated, and are getting more suitable homes.

    Sometimes, of course, the 'things' are not physical objects.  They might be beliefs or stories, rituals or programs. From time to time it is good to go through the shelves of our minds, of our histories, and consider what is still serving us, what we can get rid of, and what we need to pick back up and use to a fuller potential. And hey, be open to the surprise.

    *If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is a whimsical children's story of cause and effect and sequential mayhem written by Laura Numeroff

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