Of all the habits I have that can vary between annoying and concerning, one of the most prominent is my need to hang onto paper materials. What do I mean by paper materials? I filled the bottom compartment of my locker with drawings, notes, academic papers, and pads of specialized paper that I’ll probably never use again. To top it off were a pile of tangled wire items like a router, backup drive, and a multiplug adapter. I’m moving into my own apartment in five weeks, and in a plight to avoid studying for my last final, I decided to clean out that locker and decide what I actually had to keep. Some Spring cleaning, even if it isn’t quite Spring yet.
I’m a Junior at an art college, and so I have more papers than I have ideas what to do with. I have empty lines of notebooks and empty pages sketchbooks sitting around waiting to be used. Those had a simpler solution than the rest; reuse. I’ll use a single notebook for a couple of different classes until it’s filled to near maximum capacity. A few pages leftover is fine. I have three in this state: A flowered journal from my English Composition class that was used as a journal for that class alone, not even taking up half the journal. A notebook with skulls and constellations from Urban Outfitters that I used in my Physical Science class that’s 60% full, but potentially able to be used for my Psychology class in the summer. I also have one more notebook that I have from my Fiction One class. It’s not even half-filled so that I’ll reuse as well.
The next token category of paper goods were academic sheets and essays. I apparently enjoy hoarding syllabi along with assignment sheets that I’ll never need now that the class is over. Because many of the academic sheets were from my Poetry and Fiction One class, I decided to recycle almost all of them. I have my files on my computer, except the one project that I accidentally saved over. I kept the paper version of that. As much as I love assignment sheets that give details and guidelines about what we’re supposed to do, they take up a ton of unneeded space.
The largest category of wasted space were papers for one specific class: my horrid Basics of Animation class. Apparently the “basics of animation” includes drawing like cavepeople on the old sheet by sheet animation, taking overhead pictures, and uploading them to the computer. I’d say 75% of my waste was from this category. Each sheet was about 1/12th of a second of animation. How many trees died so I could realize I didn’t want to be an animator? Rest in pieces, along with my one dream of being an animator. Maybe in another life.
The sheets for these two animations made it into the save pile.
So what did I keep? Besides the items with more space in them, I kept a few things I still enjoy. One prototype of a final project I can’t seem to locate, and some extras from the collage background of that project. Two papers: one analytical paper I was proud of about comparing two different art pieces, and another paper on a local Savannah artist that we were told we be put in the city archives but I’m unsure. The aforementioned Poetry project that I messed the original file up to. Two animations from the basics of animation class: One of my furious fairy character doing a head turn with some concept art, and one of my final flour sack project with concept art for that as well. And finally, a couple of scattered pictures I drew for various assignments that made me smile.
When I was done, I realized I had forgotten to take a picture of the before status of the locker, but here’s the aftermath.
I feel like many artists, I get attached to my work a little too much. I hold onto it for too long when it likely will serve no purpose later. I don’t need forty sheets of a ball bouncing across the pages of what is now my minor. As much as I love keeping any random sheet that may inspire me in the future, I do know when enough is enough. And now that I’m moving, I finally had a reason to decide what doesn’t need to travel with me… and a reason to procrastinate studying for a final essay.