As we launched into the cleaning out phase of our business closure mid-month it did not take long to realize something. Although we had been there for a dozen years, we collected a lot of things. Not all of it was garbage or recyclables, either. In a way, those four walls became home to many different memories and stories.
We filled boxes and boxes with old photographs that went to the local museum. We filled many more boxes of old issues of the Similkameen News Leader – some dating back to the early days of the business – that all ended up in the paper recycling bins at the local landfill site. We also boxed up a number of boxes of things we intend to keep.
Some of those boxes are required ‘keepers’ as they contain paperwork we need to have access to in order to satisfy government guidelines. The other boxes are things that we have chosen to save that will bring back a memory or two whenever a specific box is opened again. I have tried to keep the number of ‘memory boxes’ I plan to store at home down to a minimum but it has not been easy.
My first major task was to empty out two file cabinets (one two drawer, one four drawer) and two large desks. It took a few days to complete this task because as I sorted through what were garbage, recyclable, museum and keeper items, I found the keeper pile tended to be the largest. I ended up weeding through the keeper pile twice before I could condense it to two boxes.
The upside is that my office is about 85-percent completed.
We still have ten days to finish this task and considering what we have accomplished in just a week, I’m sure we will be completely finished with a little bit of time to give the space a good wiping down, vacuuming and proper good-bye. We have moved some items home which has forced us to do some cleaning up of our own space which has actually been good for us.
What keeps me on my toes is the things I keep coming across at the office I forgot existed. These things range from equipment accessories to souvenirs and many other clippings, photos, cards and keepsakes that had been given to us over the years from loyal readers and grateful supporters. It has made closing our business a little sadder but it has also made it a more logical choice in our lives in order for us to move on to other things.
It has also shown me that for some we have been a big part of their local life and to others we were hardly noticed. The other day a young woman popped into the office, even though the windows had been papered up and the inside looked like a disaster zone. Her request was simple, but clearly she was oblivious to the surroundings and I indicated I couldn’t help as we were closed and in the process of vacating the premises.
The following day two people mentioned to Brenda and I independently and privately how much our paper was going to be missed by them. It’s not as if we are looking for validation, but it is nice to know that all the years of memories tucked away in the corners of our office didn’t end up there by accident and that they do have enough value to be placed in a box labelled ‘keeper’ for sharing sometime in the future.