My organizational mission has followed me to work as well.

It had to – I had to get my job under control rather than it controlling me.

I spent one whole weekend doing nothing but cleaning out my desk and applying the principles in the book, “Getting Things Done” by David Allen.

I have felt more productive in these last several days than I have in many months.

Walking into work one Friday morning, I decided to water our plants.  That led me into our little kitchenette where our watering can is stored.  Just the act of walking into that little space made me want to reorganize it because I knew there was stuff in the cabinet that hadn’t been touched in the three years since I’d been in the department.

I started throwing stuff out:

  • Flavored coffee syrup that had been a Christmas gift from a client three years ago that no one had used.
  • Containers of coffee that hadn’t been touched in over 6 months (and wouldn’t be touched because no one in our office drinks coffee anymore).
  • Birthday candles – we work in a hospital – we’re not allowed to have open flames!
  • More decorative napkins than I could count (all colors and styles) that looked like they hadn’t been touched in 20 years.
  • Enough disposable serving utensils to furnish 3 home kitchens.

I started rearranging what was left.

Then I realized that no one had used the toaster in at least 3 years either and wondered why did it have to be out?  I noticed the cabinet behind the microwave (which is on-top of the refrigerator) that we can’t use because the microwave is in the way.  That would be a PERFECT spot for an unused toaster.

I opened the cabinet – it was like opening King Tut’s Tomb:

  • I found a box of powdered apple cider that had a “use by” date on the packages of 1992.
  • I found a box of powdered broth that I KNOW hadn’t been carried by the patient kitchen in 20 years. The package and contents felt brittle in my hands, it was so old and dried out.
  • There were Christmas cookie tins, glass flower vases, and cobwebs.

The kitchenette cleaned out, I moved on to another storage cabinet that hadn’t been touched in 2 years.

The Boss walked in as I was pulling boxes out, took one look at the mess and just said, “Huh.”

The first box I pulled had pre-stamped postage envelopes in it – with postage that was too old to use.  Into the trash/recycling it went.

Then my coworker joined in and we hit the mother-lode – two LARGE containers of Mardi Gras beads!  Why do we have Mardi Gras beads?  I have no idea!  Those were packed up and sent home for her kindergarten-aged daughter to play with.

We pulled more and more boxes out.

This one had disks for “Print Shop Deluxe” and AOL On-Line start up disks.  That one had racks and racks of floppy disks.  Then we found a bag of miniature cassettes for a tape recorder, but no recorder.  We found signature stamps for people who were no longer in leadership positions, but the stamps couldn’t just be tossed due to liability issues either.  I had tried to give the stamps back to the “owners” of the signatures 3 years ago, but they didn’t want the stamps.

Suddenly, the Boss was VERY interested in what we were digging up when I pointed out one of my first questions when first arriving in the office was – Why are there handcuffs in the drawer? (as I held up a pair of actual handcuffs that had been unearthed in a box).  That box held all sorts of office supplies and the Boss went digging deeper looking for treasures.

As they were digging, I formulated a plan.

I put the signature stamps in some zip-lock bags I had found in the kitchen, dug the hammer out of our office tool box and waited while they finished digging through the office supplies.

I handed the hammer and a stamp to the Boss and told her, “Here you go.  Go to town!”

She looked at me perplexed, “What do you mean?”

Me – “Smash it!  We have all been under a lot of stress lately and the fastest way to get out stress is destruction.”

Her – “Oh no!  I couldn’t do that!  You two go ahead.”

Me – “I’m serious!  You will feel so much better!”

She was finally convinced and we decided we’d better smash them on the floor to avoid destroying the furniture.

She took her first tentative swing – crack!  “Hit it HARDER!” I encouraged.  Suddenly she was smashing that poor, innocent, defenseless, signature stamp into oblivion.

She stopped, looked at me, and said, “That was awesome!  Your turn!” as she handed the hammer to our coworker.

Coworker tried to take her turn, but due to medical issues, couldn’t get down on the floor.  So I smashed the next stamp.  Boss commented, “Karaboo has NO hesitation swinging that hammer!”

I gave the last stamp-smashing opportunity to the Boss and she smacked the stamp so hard, the bag exploded and sent pieces of plastic flying while we laughed hysterically.

As we gathered up the broken pieces, the Boss looked at me with a wild look in her eyes and a grin on her face and said, “I can’t believe how good that felt!  You were right!  I think I’m going to have to go home and smash some more things!”

I just laughed and told her, “I told you it would help!”

I can’t believe how disorganized our office really is.  And this is after the office was totally cleaned out 2 years ago for a remodel.  Problem was, the junk and stuff wasn’t dealt with then, it was just shoved into boxes with a statement of – we’ll get to that later.

Later is now.  Later is happening.  Later is feeling great.