Friday, June 08, 2007

Once a Librarian Always a Librarian

Summer finally decided to show up in Cleveland and, I decided to do the usual seasonal rotation of clothes between the attic and the dresser. I trooped up to the attic to drag down the plastic tubs of summer clothes and I soon realized it would not be a quick task. A jungle of precariously stacked boxes loomed in front of me and unfortunately I didn't have NASA's sattelite imagery to help me find my lost city of summer clothes. Each step led me deeper into the forest of cardboard, Rubbermaid and household items. Danger lurked under every item I moved as I nervously prayed for protection against any leaping spiders. Eventually I found my summer clothes all snug in their little plastic boxes. As I put the neatly labled bins (now containing my winter clothes) back in the attic, I had the feeling that the attic jungle would soon absorb them and I would be doomed to repeat my quest in the fall. But I left because I had to referee a disagreement over a ball between the four year old and the dog. As the days went on I tried to ignore that niggling feeling I had in the back of my head, but it didn't work. Everytime I had to look for something, a sense of dread would sweep over me as I prayed the lost item wasn't in the attic.

Armed with packing tape, extra boxes, a marker, and a giant shoe (for spiders) I went up to do battle. The first box I opened only just hinted at the enormity of task I was about to undertake. The contents of the first (unlabled) box: sewing machine, sweatshirt, thermos, and old pictures. The second (also unlabled) box: old computer parts, football, ice cream maker, and cassette tapes. I will spare you the rest of the gory disorganized details, but suffice it to say these were not the only two boxes with random contents.

Unbeknownst to me, my inner librarian emerged and took control. Every box was opened, and like things began to to be grouped with like things. Boxes were repacked and labled in detail. My husband briefly popped his head up to inquire about the strange thumping and swearing only to quickly return with a beer. By the end of the weekend I felt I had conquered the attic and established some sense of organization to the household melange. I brought my husband up to see it, partly out of pride, but mostly because I wanted to educate and indoctrinate him to the organizational system. I proceeded to explain to him that every box had a detailed lable facing out and each box belonged in a certain section of the attic based upon its contents. The attic was divided into subject categories; kitchen/dining, sports/entertainment, office, baby paraphenalia, holiday items, clothes, keepsakes, and house parts (when you have a century home you have a lot of spare odd house parts like doors, storm windows, etc.). I explained that boxes would no longer be randomly placed in the attic. Each thing had a place and that would make it easier to find things.

After I was done with my instructional class on attic storage and retrieval, my husband let out a burst of giggles and asked me if I had barcoded and cataloged every item. I guess you take the girl out of the library but you can't take the librarian out of the girl.


At 6:21 PM, Mary Carlson said...

As I am reading your post I continue to smile and nod approval - and then the part about educating your husband and his question had me laughing out loud! Doesn't that sound like a great idea - barcoding each box? :)

At 11:50 AM, Nicole said...

We recently purchased and moved into a newer home and I am terrified of going into the basement storage room because of the spiders! So glad I'm not the only adult librarian still scared of spiders ; )

At 10:51 PM, bookworm_anson said...

You had me laughing out loud with this post. I understand the nagging voice that eventually compelled you to reorganize the attic. My whole house is practiacally organized in such a way. I even alphabetize my dvd's!!!!


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The Krafty Librarian has been a medical librarian since 1998. She is currently the medical librarian for a hospital system in Ohio. You can email her at: