I'm halfway through my fourth year in this job and this office, yet considerable archaeology is still needed. In the normal rhythms of congregational life, stopping in midstream to empty an office just doesn't happen.
So today I gave myself a present.
I went into church on my Sabbath, my Never Go To Work Day and spent several hours--not just attacking the worst of the clutter--but moving things out of the office that I never would have put there in the first place.
Those tall cardboard boxes in the corner? They contain heavy rolls of bulletin board paper. And now they're in storage across the building, where I can still get to them as needed, but don't need to see them every day.
The drawers underneath are a map/blueprint cabinet, and yet poster board is stacked atop because there was no room in the actual storage unit. Instead, it was full of carefully sorted posters, maps, and pictures of all sorts of things--some of the papers were older than me. I recycled anything ripped or crumpled, made a thousand decisions as to what the program might ever need, and put all the discards in a bottom drawer, so I can ask a predecessor to claim or flame* after the holidays.
To sort everything in the drawers, I had to completely clear off the counter top here. I knew some of you would want a picture of the stark emptiness, which might never happen again.
I went through all sorts of nooks and crannies in this unit, finding many "WHAT is that?" items.
(The final reward of this project will be reorganizing this case so I can find the books I need at a glance--having a helper alphabetize by author sounded like a great idea, but it turns out that I rarely remember authors...)
The office is far from done, but today it became more useful to me, and to our program as it currently exists.
Was it an appropriate use of my Sabbath day? Well, it was more work than I would generally do, but it was restorative, and I am hoping it pays dividends in the months to come. (And hey, my sons are off school for the holidays, so the office may have been a quieter haven!)
*No, we won't actually set any fires, though I have considered such drastic measures in my weaker moments. I just couldn't find a synonym for claim that rhymes with recycle.