Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cleaning Closets

Today is Clean Junk Off Closet Floor Day. 

Receipts before 2008 our accountant says we can pitch. Going through them to save ones we may need for warranties, I note more than half are for stores that have gone out of business. Stacks of papers. A few newspaper columns of a writer I enjoyed. Say, his columns haven’t appeared since …? Googling his name yields nothing but columns from 2008. Did he retire? Do writers retire? Grocery list from 2007. Sermon notes from September 21, 2008, with the name of a book I’d wanted to explore. Did a whole nine-month book group study on that book; probably don’t need the note anymore. Printout the wireless network installation guy gave us with router name and firmware version, among other bits and bytes, none of which I understand, so will file it with computer records. No doubt, someday a Geek Squad agent will come to the house and tell me this paper is from three networks ago. Info about a small publisher I’d hoped to submit writing to; Google search yielded nothing. Gone the way of Border’s, Casual Corner, and Eckerd’s drugstores, apparently.

On the upside, this techno-weenie has been procrastinating installing Sitemeter on her new blog because she doesn’t remember how she did it before. Today she found the instructions! And this week I futilely searched all logical files for my notes from my metaphor class at University of Iowa. Not proud to admit this, but today I discovered the notes in a plastic grocery bag in a pile in my clothes closet. Found handfuls of one-inch yellow, orange, and blue Post-It notes stuck together. Most notes-to-self were complete mysteries, like “shapes of spaces between clouds.” Yes, all notes were my handwriting. But some I understood and was glad to find, like … um … oh, guess not.

Glad for my discoveries of “lost” helpful papers, glad my piles of papers are short stacks. Still, appalled that I tossed them in a closet instead of organizing/pitching in the moment. I know exactly what those moments were, too. They were crunch-times half an hour before company was due to arrive. One obvious question is: Why didn’t I retrieve the stack after company left and deal with it? Since I do not have any stacks from recent years, I apparently have decided I no longer care if visitors see my messes. That’s a relief, as is seeing my closet floor mostly cleared and wastebaskets full of stuff I don’t need.

Next project is deciding what to do with travel journals and vacation memorabilia. Back when I made scrapbooks, that was easy. Stories, photos, postcards, brochures, tour tickets, menus were artsily arranged in a scrapbook. I’ve had a digital camera for a few years now, so with no physical photos, I’ve not made scrapbooks. I’ve made virtual scrapbooks of select photos, but have not scanned other memorabilia to include there. And I haven’t figured out how to combine my travel stories with the visuals, except in this blog. So I don’t know. Seems something is still missing. How do I keep travel memorabilia in meaningful ways and merge stories with visuals? Any suggestions?

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