I’ve been in my office at UnNamed College for just about ten years. It’s packed to the ceiling with teaching materials: literally thousands of teaching handouts I’ve created over the years, book samples of all kinds, small demo paper sculptures and samples, plaster molds and other armature materials, materials and tools for bookmaking demonstrations, and reference books; as well as artwork and gifts from generations of students, visiting artists and colleagues who are now mostly long-gone.
Now, all faculty offices are being moved to a bright shiny new stable of much smaller enclosures, in a building down the street. I’ve got to sort through everything, and divide it into:
(1) Things that go to the new office (not much, since I don’t actually teach in that building).
(2) Things that I will need to teach my spring classes; for those I will have a shelf and a filing cabinet drawer in an space in the building where my current office is, where I do teach. This, and a single computer, will be shared by all faculty. None of us will have a private on-site space. Oh, and I’ll have a personal flat file drawer in one of the studios.
(3) Things that need to come home with me because they will be useful for future endeavors, or because they have other value to me (like the art), plus furniture and lamps and other things I brought in originally, when the school didn’t buy such things for the non-tenured.
(4) Materials and tools that belong to the school that have always been kept in my office.
(5 and 6) Things to give away and Things to throw away.
Add a seventh task: making space in my home office, bindery or storage for what will come home, before it arrives. The deadlines? December 15th for the move to the new office, and I’ve promised to be out of the old one by the 19th. My final class is on December 12. It is the sorting, not the actual moving, that will take up monumental amounts of time, and that needs to be done during the last two weeks of the semester.
So, in addition to the usual insanity of the end of the semester, holiday-type obligations, 1000 letters of reference to write and a huge mountain of application deadlines, I’ve got this move. But, I don’t know how to effectively help people learn to make and/or manipulate Things without Things to show, and I probably wouldn’t be teaching such Things if I didn’t make Things myself, and it takes a lot of Things to make my Things…