When The Project Chooses You

We recently we finished watching the full series of eight Harry Potter movies, and I was reminded that the wizard doesn’t choose the wand; instead, the wand chooses the wizard.

I sometimes find that I don’t choose my next organizing project; instead, the project chooses me.

A dear friend mentioned recently that, in the process of doing some organizing, he had come across his copy of a video of a short play he had directed and in which my husband had acted. I asked if we could borrow it, and he asked, “Do you still have a VCR?” Yes, I did. I actually owned a VCR/DVD combo unit. Even though I still owned some VHS tapes, I mostly used the DVD player.

Within days of that conversation, my VCR/DVD combo went kaput. It didn’t make sense for me to buy another VCR, but I did buy a new DVD player right away, because who wants to be stuck at home during a pandemic without a DVD player?

Now that I had no longer had a VCR, I decided to clean out the cabinet beneath my television in which I keep video tapes, DVDs, and anything similar — including some computer-related stuff like blank CDs and DVDs, and external CD drives. There are also some dog supplies and scrapbooking supplies, since both of those were used in the vicinity of that cabinet. Here is what the cabinet looked like:

I didn’t realize until I started taking things out of that cabinet just how much was in there. There were plenty of postponed decisions (see my recent post “A Pile of Postponed Decisions“). Frankly, I was a bit intimidated!

There were also a lot of surprises under there. I found myself saying what I frequently hear my clients say: “I’d forgotten I had that!”

When I was all done with sorting, deciding, trashing, recycling, and reorganizing, this is what it looked like at the end:

Getting the cabinet reorganized was not the end of the to-dos, however. In the middle of the top shelf is a pile of videotapes and a note on them that reads “Get these professionally converted”. These are tapes of performances in which we have appeared. Once they have been converted to DVD, I plan to discard the tapes.

I also ended up with several piles elsewhere, including:

  • Disks that I wanted to review on my computer to see exactly what was on them. I’ve done that and have tossed them.
  • DVDs that other people might want. I e-mailed those folks and found some interest. Anything that no one wants will be tossed.
  • DVDs that I wanted my family to see — such as a segment on NBC News that my daughter and I were in (fun!) and my daughter’s elementary school graduation. We’ve just watched them but will keep them for posterity.
  • DVDs of movies and TV programs that we never watched but that will come in handy now that we are looking for content to fill our evenings. I’ll toss those once those we have watched them.

Here’s a funny coda to this story. Remember the VHS tape of the play that our friend had directed and in which my husband appeared? I discovered that we already had it on DVD.

Is there a cabinet or shelf full of stuff that you haven’t reviewed in years? Now that we have all the time in the world, give it a go!

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