Office archaeology

I am looking for a needle in a haystack.  I am working on a long term project–a book with several other collaborators–and I misplaced my notes from a meeting I traveled to last summer.  If the notes still exist, and I am hopeful that they do, then successive waves of cleaning have buried them in the office and there is only one way to fix that: debulk the office.  I spent a couple of hours filing and sorting last night without any luck.

I used to use the toss method of looking for things–that is, toss anything that isn’t what you want to one side.  Now I am more careful, more methodical, like an archaelogist uncovering a dig site.  My first thought is, what is all this paper and who are these people and why did they leave it here?  It’s our paper and I just brought it downstairs so it wouldn’t clutter up the living room. 

My next step is to to decide whether or not I want to keep any one piece of paper.  If I do, I either file it or put the piece of paper in a stack on the floor designated by letter.  The current box is only up to the Gs.  Actually, what I really want is one of those alphabetical sorters…I’ll have to look for one.

Next, I decide if the paper is: a) reusable; b) recyclable; c) needs to be shredded.  For example, old bills with identifying data get shredded, and in Seattle, the shreddings can be put in the yard waste container.  Reusable paper has printing only on one side.  It gets taken upstairs and put into the one and only stack of reusable paper right near the phone.  Recyclable paper has no personal identifiers and gets popped whole into the recycling bin.

The house is reasonably clean.  I am planning to have a couple of neighbors over to take a peek at the house.  They are curious.  I don’t think the previous resident entertained much.  They may as well get a look between us and the next residents.  If the house gets sold, the new owners will gut it.

It is a beautiful morning in Seattle.


About sma11fish

small fish in a big pond
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