Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Clean Like You're Dying

     I am nearly done with school now, just one more day. The kids finished yesterday at 11, so for the rest of the afternoon, I hauled stuff out of the old-fashioned "cloak-room" attached to my classroom. It's my storage closet, and it has become a gigantic mess over the course of the year. I have to turn in so many weird forms and papers now, at the end of the year, I'm terrified of throwing out papers during the year that I might need in June. So, I hauled everything out into the middle of my classroom floor. Yesterday the pile looked pretty daunting, but the closet looked great!  That's as far as I got by about 4 yesterday, when I went home.
     Today I had all day to work in my room, and I filled two HUGE janitorial industrial sized garbage containers on wheels with papers and junk. I am now down to a smallish pile of papers that I need to file into labeled file folders tomorrow. That will take me about an hour. Then, I have to file another bunch of papers into a binder to turn in to prove that I taught the new Common Core modules this year. That will maybe take another hour. And, just because I always underestimate the time it takes me to do anything, let's just say I think I have a good shot at being done and out the door by 3:00 tomorrow, which is the earliest official time anyone can leave.
   If so, that will be a new record for me. There have been so many years that I have had to come back in on Friday, the day when almost NO ONE is still there, to finish. Or, I've piled the rest into boxes to sort when school begins again, something which doesn't ever really happen. I end up just throwing out the whole box after a year or two of kicking it around.
     But the reason I have gotten it done so quickly, and have thrown out so much,  is because I have a weird attitude this year. I describe it as cleaning as though I might die over the summer. I have this really strong feeling that I do not want someone else to have to come into my classroom and sort through all my piddly or personal stuff, or to realize that during the year I am an unorganized hoarder of papers. I also still need to hoe out the book cupboards in my room, but those don't show, and right now I can't get at them because I'm still currently sharing my room with another teacher. I will be able to do those in August, and I will likely fill another huge waste can.  Cleaning out and throwing things away is good. Really, once all my binders and such have been turned in, there's no real reason to keep things anymore. But it's more than that. It's a purging that is bordering upon psycho. And, it is affecting my summer plans for home, too.
     Since I'm not going to Alaska this summer and am planning to spend most of my summer right here in this house, I have decided it is time to clean and throw out here the same way. I do not want to die and leave all my junk for someone else to have to clean up. I feel like I "have the summer" to get my act together, to get the house pared down to just the basic necessities. I feel like I NEED to do this, I need to have this sense of organization in my life, both at work and at home, and then, once it's done, I feel like I WON"T die. But I feel like if I don't do it, I might. Weird, I know. I think it might be caused by the realization that I have had several friends recently diagnosed with cancer, and have lost several friends way too young to cancer recently, and by the sudden death of a woman just a couple years older than me in a freak accident recently. She went out for a walk after dinner, and never once thought she wouldn't be home to do the dishes that night, I'm sure. What if that happened to me? Who would want to have to sort through all my stuff here? What would they do with my box of spelling stories from 5th grade, or my notebooks full of (bad) song lyrics for guitar, and angsty teen age poetry?  What would they do with the bag full of tshirts in my closet that I was saving to maybe someday make a quilt from?  Better that I take care of these things as much as I can than to just continue to accumulate and add to it.  If I live another 40 years, at least my spelling stories will not be a part of what they need to decide on. Maybe I should write my own obituary while I'm at it?
I don't know. I just know I'm in a cleaning kind of mood, and if nothing else, Lord willing it is nothing else, I'm at least going to have a clean, uncluttered classroom to work in next year, and a super clean and organized house to come home to at day's end. As end goals, that's not bad!


Mark Kautz-Shoreman said...

I've always believed that when it's your turn "they" just turn off your clock. I think that's part of my "neat and clean" lifestyle that's almost obsessive compulsive. On the other hand, when they do turn your clock off, you won't care anymore. So clean away.....

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

I know. I SO agree with you. I keep telling myself that, that when I'm gone, I won't know or care, but I'm alive now, and so right now I DO care, so... cleaning it is! Even if I live, hopefully, many more years, it will be pleasant to live a more minimalist "neat and clean" lifestyle - dogs, and cats, and chickens notwithstanding! Have a great day!