Monday, June 2, 2008

GLOwing weekend

Early in graduate school, a friend and I termed the phrase "General Life Organization" (GLO), pronounced "glow". GLOwing means catching up on all the loose threads: running errands, catching up on housework, computer maintenance, paperwork, setting up furniture, and all those kinds of low-priority tasks that pile up.

We spent this weekend "GLOwing". I'd been under rapid-fire deadlines for the past two weeks so the entropy was stacking up. Things reached a breaking point when one of our book shelves tipped, triggering a "bookvalanche" that made a huge mess. Our biggest accomplishment was reorganizing our office space, including identifying a huge pile of books to get rid of. We also stocked up on food at Costco and the farmer's market, bought some much-needed clothes, made a thrift store run, organized our recipes into a binder, replaced a flaky network cable, and got about 90% of the way through merging our two always-on Linux computers into one machine.

I'd estimate we're getting rid of 4 linear feet of books. Most of them are old textbooks, which turned out to be worthless. Lesson learned: if a textbook isn't worth keeping forever, sell it ASAP. I'm getting rid of all my roleplaying game books from high school; those have a little sentimental value but I learned that I can buy PDF copies of the few that I care about. I'm pretty happy to convert bulky, rarely-read books into a PDF file on my computer. We're trying to unload the books on Amazon and an upcoming family garage sale, and will donate whatever's left over.

Sifting through the books wasn't fun. In many of the borderline cases we'd either feel frustrated by the money we once spent, or anxious that we might want the book "someday" for some reason. But seeing that heap of clutter leaving the house was well worth it. It's a couple hundred pounds of material that we are no longer responsible for, won't have to move, and someone else can benefit from. Our bookshelves were overflowing, and now we have ample space. Now we're on the warpath for more clutter to jettison. My pile of spare computer parts is the next target.

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