Over the summer break my building is due to have a new heating/air conditioning system installed. This means the ceiling has to be taken down. And we all have to clear out of our offices. While packing up my books and papers and throwing out piles of useless stuff I have learned a few things.
First, don't bring home brochures, pamphlets, and other freebies from conferences. There were so many things that I was certain I could use in class or in a research project, but never touched. From now on I will only take home free pens, pencils, and paper.
Then I realized that I should not keep old editions of textbooks. When I get a new one it's time to throw out the previous edition, even if there are good notes in it. The same goes for old editions of computer manuals. Better yet, buying software books is a fool's task since software is updated so often. Better to use the online documentation.
I really need to prune out the extra course handouts and supplements at the end of each semester. I will try to give fewer handouts and put everything on the course website for sure.
Finally, I need to really prune out all papers after they are no longer needed. If I make it all digital, or as much as possible, then I can just lose things in the computer!