I work in a college-based office that hasn’t really been cleaned in a while. It’s packed with books and teaching prep materials, a product of a decade of hoarding.
My supervisor and I are trying to make the switch to digitizing all of our old files and entering this century before the rest of the college catches up. Part of this includes cleaning out our office, and getting rid of that check request from 2002 because we’re pretty sure that check for $47 has cleared since then.
The best part of any cleaning process is finding crazy things people may or may not have known were there. For example, there is a ukelele in one of the offices that everyone seems to know is there but no one has yet to claim. (Is it embarrassment? Are they afraid that they think we’re just going to accuse them of stealing Zooey Deschanel’s style? Do we care if they can’t do a convincing Tiny Tim impression?) There are many half empty folders and binders, but also several vases and bags. There is a surprising amount of gift wrap for an office that I can’t remember really giving gifts that require any sort of wrapping. I mean, you probably shouldn’t gift wrap a cake or a gift card. It just seems like overkill. There are many books, since the director is a professor of English Education, but two copies of Stephen King’s It tucked under a framed photograph of James Baldwin and an empty fishbowl is slightly confusing as a decorating aesthetic.
Here are some of the things we found amidst the ten years of accumulated dust and clutter:
- Old professional development VHS tapes: some unopened, some blank
- More VHS tapes, with contents ranging from student projects…
- …to less office-related materials
- Sticking with this outdated technology theme: these cassette tapes and camcorder tapes
- This dead cactus (and plastic hummingbird friend)
- Three cases of wine leftover from an event that are now being stored in a file cabinet (that I may have snapchatted to friends and former coworkers)
- These Abercrombie & Fitch ads that were tucked in a book of poetry.
The worst part about this cleaning process is that now I want to keep all of this forever, continuing the hoarding cycle.