|A trip to the Book Mines
||[Jun. 9th, 2013|08:02 pm]
Longtime correspondents may remember that back in 2001 when I was laid off from a relatively well-paying job, I was renting a whole house, and my possessions had expanded to fill just about every corner. After a year of not being able to find a new job in the area, I started packing. I got lots of boxes designed to hold LPs, CDs, VHS tapes, DVDs, and mass-market paperbacks.
I'd already amassed a large collection of luggage because, well, things with lots of pocketses to store things in have always attracted me. I was on the lookout for the perfect rolling case to take to gaming conventions. And from 1990 or so on, I was on the look out for the perfect laptop/laptop accessory bag.
(In 1983, when I took trains from DC to Poughkeepsie, I had a full four-track recording studio plus keyboard instruments packed into my duffel bag. Now I have the same capabilities in this MacBook and far more, tho plugging in external mics is preferred.)
But anyway, during the time of my unemployment, I also got 15 stacking plastic tubs, the sort that are translucent. I packed random stuff into those, including my then-current receipt filings. Up until maybe 1985, I'd filed all that stuff carefully into file boxes with handles. Then I realized that the number of times I looked things up was about once a decade but took only five minutes, and adding the time I spent carefully filing all my receipts in the first place, it made more sense to have a system that took NO time carefully filing things, but a few hours for any search for anything over a couple years old.
IE: With specific exceptions, I just started throwing things into a big drawer, and when that drawer filled, I emptied it into a tub. So one look into a tub tells me the approximate age of its contents ...
This filing now fills three fifteen gallon tubs, and whenever I get a package of something with one of those drying packets, or a bottle of pills with a drying thing, I toss the drying thing into a tub, so stuff stays all crisp.
Other tubs I put various other stuff in, like half my cabling collection. And in 2004, when it became clear I was going to get evicted, I put all my Terry Pratchett books in a tub and filled the rest with randomly-grabbed hardcover books. And I filled up my luggage.
So when I moved to Grundoon's I had lots of boxes and luggage and tubs, but only a bit of my furniture. And the next year, when I moved here, my CDs and LPs went into a storage place, and most of the rest of the stuff came with me. My first room configuration was to have the tubs all stacked next to my bed in a low wall. To get to something in a lower tub, I'd slide tubs around to clear a path to it.
My landlady is quite conscientious, and almost annually has carpet cleaners come through. So that's an opportunity to pack everything up onto things that roll around (like my bed) and roll them out of the way as the guy cleans. And after that, I put the room back into working order. It imposes a bit of a discipline, and each time through, the arrangement's optimized even better.
A couple years ago, I moved the tubs into my clothes closet. That's maybe eight feet by five feet. And, of course, the receipt tubs went to the back, with obsolete wiring and software tubs above them. I'd tossed most of the suitcases to the other side of the space.
Also, during this time, whenever somebody at work was about to throw out a laptop case (can't use them in a clean room,) I'd taken it.
Lest you think I do this luggage collection for no reason, my music hardware is nicely nestled in several bits of old luggage. F'rinstance, that JamHub and my good mic and phantom mic power are all nicely in an old favorite laptop bag, along with a whole lot of cables. My E-mu "command station" is in a wheeled bag, with accessories and documentation. And so on.
Last month, my landlady warned me she was going to have to get to the attic. This meant opening a door from that closet. SO, I packed everything up to the other side of the closet to allow this, and waited. This was frustrating, because while waiting for the attic excursion to happen (the guy kept postponing) I wanted to search the tubs for Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle.
I finally got to do that today. When arranging things, I checked my suitcases just to remind me what was in each. Most contained other suitcases, and I was able to jam a couple laptop cases (I'd accumulated a few more than I'd thought!) into these. As always, I found relics of my past; bits of paper that had no real place to go, like my plane ticket and info packets from my interview trip to the Mayo Clinic in 2001, and one page a printout of my address/phone number list from 1990.
And I re-stacked my tubs and filed recently read (and re-read) books into some and brought some others out, including the Baroque Cycle.