A few weeks ago, my department decided to schedule an Office Clean-up Day for today. We knew the place hasn't been cleaned in recent, or even not-so recent memory, and it's been driving many of us a little crazy for years, so it was time. We brought in cookies, dressed in jeans, and got to work.

My supervisor tackled file cabinet, tossing out drawers-full of old files (she emptied out 2 full file cabinets). I dealt with the 'supply' area, which was effectively a graveyard of any office crap that someone didn't want in their office. My colleagues attacked other shelves and cabinets, and we spent a genial morning exclaiming in surprise at what we found:
  • Several unopened, sealed boxes of 5 1/4 inch floppy disks
18 March 09
  • Even more unopened boxes of 3 1/5 inch floppies
  • A horde of used floppies containing gawd-knows-what from long-retired employees
  • Several boxes of transparent sheets (used for overhead projectors, of which there are none in the library - at least, to my knowledge)
  • 7 boxes of envelope labels
  • Enough hanging folders to completely fill up every file cabinet in the area - not counting paper to put IN the folders
  • Paper of every color of the rainbow
  • Enough plastic paper covers for every piece of paper in the building.
  • 4 columnar accounting pads
  • A receipt book
  • Pink message pads that are older than I am
  • Random cords and cables
  • Printer cartridges that don't match anyone's printer
  • A plastic mat for office chairs
  • Some weird sorting thing that we had no idea how it would be used
  • A rolodex that had interesting phone numbers in it, including those of Erma Bombeck and her secretary.
  • Several pad of custom post-its (saying things like "Rush" and "Route to"
  • Custom stamps with initials and fund codes for librarians that I've never heard of.
  • Oh-so-many stamp pads and various refill inks
  • A flock of mouse pads
  • Several dozen wire baskets
  • Enough pens and pencils to ensure we never need to order writing utensils again
  • The find of the day - an old laptop. I mean old - I took a picture, but am too lazy to post it right now, so this will appear soon here it is. I'd guess this thing is close to 20 years old.
Bonus - ye olde ancient laptop
This is really a short list, mainly consisting of my own discoveries. We emptied out at least 50 3-ring binders, recycled boxes full of old catalogs and manuals, tossed old routing slips and obsolete forms.

At the end of the day, we had reorganized our mail baskets and supply area and cleared off many other shelves. Our hard-working students boxed up 3 huge boxes of crap and moved the empty file cabinets and 2 other storage cabinets into a fortress for the university surplus folks to cart off. Once that's done, we'll tear down some other shelves and clear out more junk. But we all thought it was one of the best days at work in years!
Salvage pile
Our final pile o' junk!


  1. Kudos! Did you listen to your collective ipods? To some inspirational 80s hits.

    The load sounds about right. I think I found similar things when cleaning out my offices at school. Including somethings I couldn't even identify.

    I've been kinda cleaning myself. And trying to find things that fits into a teeny frame. Thus far, I've tried a wallet pic of my friend's baby, and something from a calendar and no dice. The art deco worked but it needs to be vertical, not horizontal. Ugh. I may start going through old photo albums for one. Not tonight. Or I could just wait.

    On a kitten front, the pics of the grey kitten (Sophy?) where she's upside down and in the bag are amazingly cute.

  2. I have a strong affection (obsession, really) of getting rid of stuff. It feels so good to remove clutter! The 5 1/2 floppies are hilarious though. You might save one for posterity. ;)

  3. We need to do this to our supply room. The stuff we use regularly takes up approximately six shelves. The rest of the room is crammed with junk. I love that pic of you and the Barbers on the sidebar. It's so cute.

  4. Sounds like fun! I love that kind of cleaning...the kind where you can throw most of it away, reorganize, and know exactly what is in your area. I'm secretly jealous!

  5. I'm jealous of the discovering part, but not the cleaning. But the idea of finding so much cool stuff, that excites me.

  6. We didn't actually listen to music - we got started in a whirlwind of activity. Shilo, you would have loved this kind of cleaning - we were literally tossing handfuls of crap into trashcans and piling things into recycling bins. It was exhilarating!

    Jennifer, keeping things for posterity is what got us in this mess!

    Syd and Babs, glad you like the pics. I sometimes wonder if I take TOO many cat pictures - but then I think there can never be too many cat pictures. I'm enjoying my Year of Pictures project much more the second time around.

  7. There are never enough cat pictures. Says the person who didn't actually take most of my cat pics on fb.

    I agree with you on the keeping things for posterity bit. That, like good intentions, pave the way to hell.

  8. The laptop looks easy about 20 years. Which am extrapolating based on an old word processor of mine from the 90s. And it looks like a halfway-step between typewriters and computers.

    Unfortunately, all that's in my head is the line from 6 Million Dollar Man, "We can rebuild him/her/it."


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