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I like moving. Not so much the physical part of the process, but the mental aspect of it. It's an opportunity for renewal—to take stock. To leave some things behind, to start afresh. To get new stuff to replace the old stuff.
I've lived in the same neighborhood area for about the past 20 years. But I've had four different apartments during that time. And with each move, a dilemma: what to take, what not to take.
So for each move I conduct an inventory. What goes to the new place has to fall into one of two categories:
1. I love this.
2. I need this.
If I don’t love it or need it, it goes to charity resale or the alley. (Both charity resale and the alley have been the recipients of hundreds of books—well, books that I didn't love or need—over the years.)
So generally, about every five years I make such an inventory. It’s kind of like a massive spring cleaning. And it feels good to pare my environment down to love/need stuff. Away with the clutter.
But all those apartment moves were voluntary. This one—not so much. Still, I'm not dreading it (change can be good), and I'm taking some satisfaction from the paring-down process in preparation for our Wednesday office move to the Sun-Times building at 350 N. Orleans.
Our general manager, Mary Jo Madden, tells me that the Reader has been in this building at 11 E. Illinois since 1983. That's a lot of years' worth of stuff to sort through. I personally have worked in this office since 1998. You can accumulate a lot of stuff in 14-plus years, even in a cubicle. How much of this stuff do I need? How much of it do I love? It's not easy to decide.
Here’s a partial account:
Manuscripts and job applications— shredder material. (Don’t fret, submitters and applicants. I have electronic copies saved.)
Angry and/or funny letters to the editor: maybe a select few particularly angry or funny ones.
Monkeys and empty commemorative special-issue/special-event whiskey bottles?
Don’t need 'em, but love 'em. They're making the cut.
The broken George Foreman grill? Loved it when it worked, don’t need it now.
Also: good-bye three-digit passcode, hello lanyard.
And lastly: lots of memories of 11 E. Illinois. They're making the trip too. I love them.