A friend and I were talking about cleaning out all the “stuff” that accumulates in classrooms at school.  She has just moved to a new room at her school, which is double trouble because not only do you have to go through your own stuff but there’s always stuff left behind by those moving out.

“I have been so busy getting my room off the floor that I don’t even know what day of the week or what time it is. My new room is going to be great when I find all the stuff,” she said. “I have worked nonstop for days and nights. It is just now coming together. My restroom is clean and the tables are clean. That is just about all.”

“Well, that’s a start,” I replied.

“My son helped me push and shove stuff this weekend. Thank You, Lord!”

“Yes, thank goodness for good sons!”  I agreed. “Mine came by last week and helped me with some ‘monkey work’ – stamping books – and that was so nice.  (The first time I asked him to help stamp levels in books he got fed-up with it pretty quickly. He said, “You could train a monkey to do this,” and it has been “monkey work” ever since.)

“We have a meeting today about our classes but I hope I have a few more days to find my materials and know what I have in this room,” she went on. “I have cleaned all of the old occupant’s stuff that she collected for twenty years. You wouldn’t believe the home made stuff I have thrown away. OLD OLD. I had enough old word cards that would supply the whole county. Ha!”

“I know what you mean,” I told her. “I once moved into a room at the school I had just transferred to and everything the former teacher had was in paper or plastic bags with rubber bands wrapped tightly around the tops. I soon started ripping open the bags – and then eventually not even looking inside them – because I got so tired of unwrapping those rubber bands that were twisted around twenty times or more!”

“Oh, my,” she sympathized.

“There must have been ten miles of scalloped, corrugated bulletin board border in every imaginable color (though most were faded)! I didn’t have an outside door in that classroom but I had a window, so my husband pulled up his truck and we loaded it up two or three times for him to take stuff to the dump. (When he was there at the dump he saw a family or two digging through the dumpsters, and the children turned out to be my students, but that’s another story.)”

“It does feel so good to get rid of all that unwanted stuff,” she said. “Then you can concentrate on taking care of the things worth keeping.”

“And buying new stuff!” I added.

“You bet,” she said with a smile.

2 thoughts on “stuff

  1. Clutter makes you crazy doesn’t it? I agree with you that the joy of cleaning out the old is bringing in some fresh new lovlies. 🙂

  2. I think there is a bit of “nesting” that teachers do every year. Even if you do not move classrooms, there is the clearing and cleaning that we “need” to do t prepare for the “tasks” ahead. I really do think it is similar to what momas do as they prepare for birth. We clear the path ahead for our students and for our teaching. This year I too am in a new space. The bags were full and the cleaning cathartict!

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