Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Burst of office tidiness

I am cleaning my study. It feels good. I did not realize how much unnecessary stuff I have kept. It has piled up and I've made room for all of it.

Why the purge? It's not merely to give my temporary replacement the sense that I am supremely organized (what would he need in my files, anyway?). Rather, it is the beautiful feeling that external order gives internal peace. If the world around you is orderly, it frees you in wonderful ways. And it affirms that some things are not really worth keeping any more.

I cannot imagine that I need the minutes from a 1997 committee meeting. Or that I need to keep a book purchased twenty years ago that I have never opened. Or that the drawer full of clippings that could someday become potential sermon illustrations must be kept, even though I have not opened that drawer in over ten years.

I have three books on clutter management; two are identical. Each book declares that clutter comes from (1) emotional attachments to stuff, and (2) not shutting down the question "What if?" As in, "What if I need this some day?"

Hmm. Do I really need the hundred cassette tapes of sermons by famous preachers? I love Fred Craddock's preaching and have learned much from his sermons. But cassette players are becoming difficult to find. Fred isn't even preaching any more.

What about those VHS tapes that were helpful in teaching classes but are now losing their magnetic juice? A few can be digitized on discs and the rest discarded.

I'm not ready to empty out the office. Oh no! But from time to time, a good purge is needed. It feels good to travel a bit lighter.

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