When the teeny-tiny game parts fell between the cabinet and the lowest shelf I knew I was in trouble. The book whacking me on my head was the last straw. Things had gotten out of hand. My teaching closet was a mess. I knew where everything was but clearly finding anything was dangerous.

So first, I fired the doors on the cabinet inside which made accessing things much easier. Then, I axed the old desk shelf unit that I had MacGyvered years ago as additional storage. Instantly, I could get to all the side shelves and it was lighter and brighter too.

A trip to The Container Store for some nifty wall storage and some handiness by my husband and I was ready for the grunt work. Two afternoons = a functional closet + pile of recycling + pile for shredding + pile of trash + back of one car filled with former desk shelf unit parts and more for donation.

It was very satisfying to let go of some former parts of my teaching life to make room for the new. I also was reminded of the journey my teaching has taken and how my activities and resources have evolved over the years. Of course, some of that is technological. We have new ways of working and new toys to use.

I have always embraced the new. But, I don’t think that means throwing everything away. I think it means respecting the journey and allowing the past and present to co-exist—in a closet and in life.

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