A couple weeks ago I finished things up, calculated my final grades, and then started taking my office apart. I found it addictive. There were a lot of papers I no longer needed, a bunch of stuff I was keeping for no apparent reason, and some other things that just needed to be gone. By the time it was over, I'd filled four paper cartons with old documents to be shredded, another with stuff for recycling, and another document box with stuff that I didn't throw away, but no longer needed in the office. (That box came home with me.)
It didn't stop there. The stuff that remained in my filing cabinets all got rearranged, organized and labeled. For perhaps the first time since I took this job, my files are in order. My desk has been cleaned out, with only the stuff I need to keep remaining there. There's still some tweaking I'll need to do, but the difference is huge, and the psychological lift is immense.
The other day I did the same for my data. I keep all my documents on an 8GB USB drive, and the poor thing was groaning under the weight of all the documents and other files I kept on it. I had files on there that were a decade or more old, and much of it was stuff I never used. So I backed the thing up to my external hard drive, then sorted through its contents, keeping only the documents I really needed and deleting everything else. It now has seven free gigabytes, more than I'll ever really need.
There's something that feels very good about coming into a new year and carrying a little less baggage than you were before. The office, and the things I keep to support my work, are now lean and purposeful. I like that feeling.