Piles of files

National Recycle Week – Day 5

Today it’s recycling my way!

With my half-century on the horizon (ok it’s more than a year yet, but it’s still there) I have been re-evaluating my life and some things have had to go, the latest being my teaching for the university. Finally I acknowledged Mr Snail’s repeated cries of ‘you’re being exploited’ and decided that I’d had enough. I’d fought the good fight – I’d argued the case for better treatment of ‘casual’ (their term, not mine)  teaching staff with everyone from personnel to the Vice Chancellor for the last 17 years and finally, I’d had enough. So, it’s over and I’m now looking forward to writing knitting and crochet patterns instead, alongside my usual editing work.

This change has brought with it the incentive to clear out my office… over the years I’ve accumulated loads of files and reports and they have been looming over me on my shelves for far too long. So, on Monday afternoon, whilst I was running a defrag on my ailing laptop, I decided to start the clear out in earnest.

I started on a shelf of lever-arch files, with one stuffed full of jottings from my 2002 Open University MEd module.

A small start

A small start

And then I worked my way along the shelf, realising just how much paper I have been accumulating over the years.

A few more

A few more

And so it went on, as I progressed to another shelf, which included box files

and more

and more

And then on to the pile on the floor up the corner

IMGP5872

and more

Until my computer was finally done and I had a break, having filled a couple of boxes  and a large bag full of paper

Just one of the boxes

Just one of the boxes

and having completely stuffed one of the liberated box files full of poly-pockets

Reused box file containing poly-pockets awaiting reuse

Reused box file containing poly-pockets awaiting reuse

I suspect that we will never need to buy any sort of filing supplies for the rest of our lives!  And I’m only part way through.

So, what of the recycling part of this post? Well, the new raised bed is now complete and there’s a lot of it to fill. We’ve decided to treat it like a big composter for the time being and so, the bottom needs a good layer of paper and cardboard to act as a base:

A nice absorbent base - full of carbon

A nice absorbent base – full of carbon

Before being covered with greenery:

Grass clippings on top

Grass clippings on top

Several years ago we trained some of our neighbours to deliver their grass clippings to us and, right on time, a bag arrived this morning for me to add to the mix. Now, I just need to go and collect the bags of moss I have been promised and some horse muck and we’ll be well on the way to a replacement for the bed that was removed to make way for the limery. Now, that’s my sort of recycling.

Previous Post
Next Post
Leave a comment

27 Comments

  1. And does your office now sound all weird and echoey and empty? I’m guessing it won’t be long before you cosy it up with all sorts of hand crafted items and their associated tools, accessories and paperwork… Much more comfortable!

    Reply
    • Not yet… and I can’t bear to get rid of all my books and there are shelves and shelves of those too!

      Reply
      • Could you maybe donate them to somewhere that you’d be able to access them if you wanted or needed to?

        Reply
        • Not really – libraries are closing down like mad and the university library (a) does not deserve them and (b) no longer seems to be interested in real books. I don’t mind the books – to me a room isn’t a room without books. The ones that no longer interest me I’m either selling on or donating to charity.

          Reply
  2. When I retired from university teaching, I was in the same place you are–too many years of paper! I did send it all to the recycling but I wish I’d used some of it as you are. I like the idea of parts of an old life giving nourishment to the new!

    Reply
  3. After I retired I too had a massive clear out of old paperwork which went into raised beds. It seemed to be quite cathartic and cleared out a lot of frustration as well as making space on the shelves for new things. Eating what grew in the raised bed was a bonus!

    Reply
  4. That must have given you much satisfaction, watching the waste paper come down off those shelves and knowing it would be forming a new layer for the plants.Roll on the rest of it.
    Sad that it’s been brought about by the lack of value placed by educational establishments on the very people it employs to teach.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Reply
    • Thanks David. Considering that I won one of the university’s own ‘Excellence in Teaching’ awards a few years ago, you would have thought they might value my contribution. Sadly, now it’s a business and all about cutting costs. I’m very sad to leave my learners, but mightily relieved to say goodbye to all the admin (which I was never paid for).
      Anyway, in a few months time, we’ll be eating my words!!!

      Reply
  5. Wow, this must feel really good! So excited you can make some soil from it…

    Reply
    • It feels great – I’m quite surprised what a positive response I’ve felt, but I think the idea that it’s going to add to my garden is the big thing 🙂

      Reply
  6. I have to say this post resounds so strongly with me and makes me feel a deal of satisfaction on your behalf also. Though I had I walked away from teaching I took with me my library and study full of papers for several years before I could begin the off-loading process. It took me more than 10 years to finally rid myself of the stuff I was somehow attached to – or perhaps it was just attached to me. As I was physically moving house all that time it was a burden that in the end became just too wearisome and most of the stuff was given away or sent to the landfill. I could have made two raised beds entirely of paper I suspect! So let me give you a rousing round of standing applause for setting to so quickly and so vigorously. It took me so long to really understand how stuff from the past held me back in the past – letting go is freeing and I am definitely a born again disposer of stuff!

    Reply
    • You were part of my inspiration, Pauline. Your emails were so encouraging and positive about making changes, that I felt it wasn’t just me being silly. Having decided to move on from the university, the act of disposing of stuff has felt very natural. I’ve got quite a bit more to deal with, but it has been nice to have this big symbolic chuck-out. The final course that I was supposed to be teaching in two weeks time has now been cancelled, so apart from a little bit of marking, I’m nearly done with it all. I have books that I want to keep (about the subjects I still love) and books that I want to discard (education theory, maths) and I’d like to find good homes for the ones I no longer want. It all feels very positive and liberating, so thank you for all your support ❤

      Reply
  7. Just saw these and thought instantly of you. Nothing to do with old files or even recycling but I didn’t know where else to share this. You could make them out of t-shirt material to repurpose (“whew, quick save there!” 😉 )

    http://snappy-tots.com/scrubbies-week-8/#_a5y_p=3462113

    Reply
  8. There is something wonderful about burying the past in a garden bed. What a happy post.

    Reply
  9. You’ve left?! Crikey! But well done for standing up for yourself, and I love that you buried the papers

    Reply
    • Not a decision that I took lightly. I really do love teaching, but sometimes you know you have to move on. From now on all my teaching will be done on my own terms!

      Reply
  10. Well done. paper clutter is a world of it’s own. I have managed to let go of 90% of my work related papers but have kept a few appointment letters, CV and academic awards because even though I won’t be returning, they are interesting to look at. I have little clutter anymore and as my clutter decreases, I see an increase in my productivity. ❤

    Reply
  11. Half century on the horizon? Hang on a minute….it’s making me think the same thing, but more immediately it’s making me think it really can’t be only 3 months off 30 years ago since we met? Also that vocations do not change, just the way we fulfil them shifts like the sand.
    It makes me happy, that you are able to change what is not working in your life whilst keeping your self true xxx
    And obviously anything which keeps the veggies growing is to be celebrated! ❤

    Reply
  12. Ellen

     /  July 7, 2015

    Oooo…I’ve just left my own teaching job, after twenty years, and know I’ve got to look deeply into my own study and clean it out. May as well start today!

    Reply
    • I’m still working through files, but I do now have some clear shelf space. There are some things that I’m not ready to let go yet and some I haven’t the heart to face yet, but the whole process is very cathartic.

      Reply

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: