Thursday, June 27, 2013

Meanwhile, back at the office...

Our office is undergoing a major remodel. This is a good thing, of course, because things are a little iffy out there in the world for newspapers, and the mere fact that ours is expanding (albeit the printing part of the business) is kind of amazing.

So now that I've got THAT out of the way, let me tell you how I really feel.

Since the print shop is taking over half of the space previously used for editorial (everything fits, no biggie), there's a lot of moving and sorting and purging going on. We've got a dumpster and a shredder, so you know it's legit.

We've all been encouraged to "go through" our things and "take advantage" the dumpster et al (we have a recycling bin too, of course, and a couple people have put stuff outside with a "free" sign). I have managed to not accumulate much, so I was pretty smug about my lack of participation in said purging until Joe the Publisher announced he was trading his office for the conference room (makes sense, his current office is bigger) and all those awards on the wall? Needed to come down.

By the way, this is when my full 6-feet-one half-inch comes in handy. I GOT those awards on the top shelf, yo, and I got them good.

And then I spent two hours taking awards out of their frames (we kept the first place awards, but the honorable mentions from 1964 got tossed). What this left was a huge stack of frames by my desk. I was feeling a little stressed out anyway because I was trying to figure out a place to store a huge stack of archival books--I'm putting together a column these days of the "what happened on this day X number of years ago" variety and had previously kept them in the conference room--and it just wasn't working. I could literally not find one square inch of free space. There are stacks and stacks of things that no one knows what to do with because they've been there since Day One, but no one can make a decision because they're not sure if they're the proper authority for that kind of thing. Which I understand because I'm fairly sure I am NOT an authority able to move any o' this crap on to its final resting place(s) and therefore just spin my wheels a lot.

Anyway, though, eventually Joe came out of his office to encourage the front office staff to take home frames, and Chris the Office Manager was all like, Trisha's a minimalist, she's got like one electronic picture frame for the entire house, and I was all, well, I don't actually have an electronic picture frame because I've never understood the point, but yeah, none of this is coming home with me.

Also: I guess I talk about my minimalistic tendencies more than I thought because I had no idea anyone at work even knew what I was up to over here.

Anyway, after the minimalist door was opened, so to speak, Chris felt emboldened to ask me about my "lifestyle choice." She was mostly just curious whether or not we had anything on our walls.

That made me laugh. Our house has stuff in it, people. We have furniture, for one thing, and photos of the girls and even a quilt rack with some antique tea cups on its shelf.

So we talked about my home's wall situation, and how for me, minimalism is mostly about mindful consumerism and choosing experiences over stuff. Maybe there's still a general conception of minimalism being all about stark cold interiors and self denial, I don't know, that's the impression I got talking with Chris, and I think she felt better knowing I'm not looking at blank walls all the time.

And then I embraced my title as an Honest to God Minimalist and I tackled my desk. I tossed (yes, tossed) things that had been under my counter untouched all 2 1/2 years of my employment with the paper (dude, we don't even OWN an Cannon copier, what the hell has this empty cartridge been doing all these years?), I had Cranky Steve kill the spider that was living behind a stack of newsprint, I recycled papers and catalogs, took a Clorox Wipe (or six. It was disgusting) to everything, stacked the homeless archival books up on the floor and called it a day.

Chris, noticing the stack, commented that maybe someday we'll get the shelves behind my desk cleaned out for my use (she thought it was a shame the archival books are on the floor, which it kind of is, I guess) because it would be nice to have the shelves used for something other than a dumping ground.

Word up, Chris. Word up.

Um, so that's what I've been doing. The end, I guess.

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