John Grindrod: some thoughts on clutter, at work and at home
While working as a quality inspector for Mid-American Cleaning Contractors, I work my way through a wide range of workspaces, both work cubicles and outlying desks. While some workspaces are simple, with only the bare necessities for a worker to earn their paycheck, there are other workspaces that are anything but simple.
In these spaces, I will often see, among other personal effects, multiple photos, Bobbleheads and miniature figures, model cars and other small toys. I will also often see lots of sports memorabilia, including golf clubs, baseball bats, and even football helmets on shelves.
Now, from a housekeeping standpoint, I always squeak a bit when I see horizontal surfaces cluttered with such items, as it makes dusting much longer in addition to increasing the chances that, say, a Hummel or two could fall off a shelf. .
As for my own hard-working endeavors over the years, I’ve had desks and surrounding workspaces at several jobs, the most important being, of course, my classrooms at three different high schools. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Perry and Allen East, the classroom I spent the most time in was Room 16 at the original St. Marys Memorial High School, which was “my office” for the last 27 years of my teaching. times.
As for belongings in any of my workspaces over the years, I pretty much stopped bringing anything into those spaces that reminded me of home. Now there was an exception, and it was indeed in this Memorial classroom in a building that, sadly, after its demolition in 2010, no longer blocks the view of Baughman Stadium from West South Street.
As dozens of my former students can attest, Room 16 was definitely a working environment, a place where a lot of effort was expected and a lot was spent, with few exceptions, by just about everyone who arrived each day. The room certainly often looked crowded, given the Xerox lessons that hadn’t yet aired and were piled around the perimeter of the room. However, it was work-related clutter, not the kind in workspaces I often see while working these days.
The only exception I made regarding belongings in my working world dates back to the early 1980s, during my heyday as a young father. On my bulletin board in the front right corner of the room near the storage cupboard which, typical of a building that opened in 1923, required a master key to access it, I regularly stapled a few- one of my little girls best coloring efforts. Shannon and Katie would often color on Sundays, bringing me their best work and saying, “Dad, this is for your class!”
Now, how could a father refuse that? So their efforts were placed in my work bag and then stapled to this bulletin board every Monday morning. And, the days when the world didn’t seem to turn my way and I was either frustrated that I wasn’t being as effective an educator as I wanted so badly, or I wasn’t particularly happy with the current performance of my troops. , I would look at these colors to remind myself that no matter how I thought things were going, I would indeed persevere and bring that bacon back to those I promised to support.
Other than those bulletin board times from so long ago, I’ve never really been a trinket guy at work. I think it was always important to me to make sure there was a clear line between work and home.
Please don’t think that means I’m a minimalist at home and somehow anti-trinkets. Believe me. If you saw my home, especially the man coming down the steps where games are watched and a few long necks are put to good use and you saw the amount of sports related photos and other items that festoon the room, you you know this is surely not the case.
It’s just that I’ve always wanted to keep my work and play spaces, figuratively tonsorial, a bit like a mule. Business up front has always been my job, and this back party always has the place where, as many have said, where our hearts are.
I guess I never wanted to confuse the two worlds I lived in.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, freelance writer and editor, and author of two books. Contact him at [email protected]