As an Art teacher, I have acquired a profound ability to look at things with the eye of a scavenger. A cardboard tube is often saved because it could be used for an armature, or sculpture, or mobile, or something I hadn't thought of yet. My storage room is a mix of shiny new bottles of paint yet to be opened along side strange arrangements of random left shoes, straw hats, various cleaned out milk jugs, and skeins or yarn waiting to be made into something magnificent.
For years, I have been piling up things in my storage room, afraid that once I got rid of something I would need it for a project; that the year I finally decided to throw out the strange foamie things that came in a shipment once, I would have a huge cut to my budget and somehow it would be a saving grace.
This week something changed. Maybe it has been building, or maybe it was sudden; I just know that didn't feel that nagging to hang on to all of the junk that has been crowding my storage closets and suffocating the truly great and well-utilized supplies I have acquired and need. Instead of hanging onto things just because someone at some point gave it to me and I might be able to use it somehow, I have decided to purge my space of anything that has not been utilized within the last 4 years. If I haven't found a use for it within that much time, chances are someone else might. Instead of hanging onto all of it for the sake of having it, it is time to make decisions and edit accordingly.
So, here is to the year of the purge. Maybe it will start in my classroom and branch out to other areas? I recently read a post from Derek Sivers that challenges people to only do the things they are really passionate about doing - to only accept new things that excite you and say no to everything else. This idea is making me rethink how I approach new tasks and will probably influence how I tackle the process of purging as I continue to examine what I have, what I need, and what should go...