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  March 30, 2012
A Clean Beginning...


The secret of getting ahead is getting started...the secret of getting started is getting organized by breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.

~Mark Twain

The spring equinox occurs each year on March 20th. 

It’s a time when the sun is equidistant from the north and south poles. 

In March, we set our clocks to leap ahead so we can enjoy a bit more sunlight after a long day at work as the days grow longer.  The wild flowers will soon be in full-bloom as the snows and frigid days of winter melt away.  The swallows return to San Juan Capistrano, the gray whales head north to the waters of Alaska with their pups, and the bears awaken from their winter slumber.

Spring is a time for the renewal of life after the dead of winter.  It’s a time to plant.  It’s a time to make repairs to the house, to the garden, and to the pool.  Time to remove the snow tires, flush the radiator and change the wiper blades...

Over the course of the last two weekends, I have spent endless days cleaning.  Spring cleaning to be exact...both at my home and my office...

A spring cleaning is different from the "normal" everyday cleaning. 

A spring cleaning is for doing those things that you may only do once a year.  It might include chores such as cleaning out the rain gutters, shampooing the carpets, bleaching the tile in the bathroom, sponging off the baseboards, cleaning the refrigerator, freezer, oven and/or perhaps even taking down the Christmas lights still on the house.

It is a deep clean that requires fresh air through open windows and doors, a warm sun, and loud soulful music playing in the background...

Spring cleaning is also a good time to rid ourselves of unwanted and unneeded accumulated stuff.

Last spring we bought and assembled shelving for our garage so our stuff would have their own place...off the floor and onto the shelves.  A year later...all of our old stuff remains on the shelving but now our garage floor has new stuff piled high. 

Where did it all come from? 

Why were we compelled to buy it, or perhaps accept it as a gift?

As I rummaged through this new stuff I realized that much of it was exactly like our old stuff still on the shelves.  Could it be that our old stuff was so organized that we were unable to find anything when we actually needed it and so ended up buying more?

Many of the items in our garage and in our closets in the house are "keepsakes".  These articles do not appear to have any real practical purposes but seem to have some sentimental or nostalgic value to us. 

While going through boxes I found my grandmother’s old dishes, drinking glasses and kitchen utensils, chipped, mixed and matched, I found my old high school lettermen’s jacket, I found a non-working old manual typewriter and three miniature rocking chairs just big enough to seat a three-year-old child.  I found a lot of already-read books, old magazines, art supplies, jigsaw puzzles and games with pieces unaccounted for.  Boxes upon boxes of stuff...

Who made the decision to keep these things the last time we did a spring cleaning? 

I could easily cast the blame upon my better half for being the pack-rat.  I don’t remember buying and keeping all instruments of clutter.  Of course it must be her...it couldn’t be me!

Unfortunately it doesn’t then explain why I found a similar pile of useless junk when I subsequently performed a needed spring cleaning of the warehouse at OptiFuse. 

Boxes of Christmas ornaments, tin cans of shelving hardware, old broken furniture and chairs, and stacks upon stacks of unused wooden pallets all littered the dark secluded areas of our warehouse.  Boxes of old computer equipment still remained in our care...just in case we might one day need an old CRT monitor and copy of Windows XP.

No...the problem of clutter doesn’t lie with my girlfriend, our children, or my employees...the problem is me...I just can’t seem to be able to rid myself of old junk...

I suppose it is the same reason I currently have some 30,000 old email messages filed on my server.  I can’t seem to find a way to actually part with them because who knows, maybe someday I might just actually need one of them...so in my mind it’s better that I have them and not need them then it is to not have them and need them. 

The truly sad part is that I really have no idea what I have and what I don’t have so even if I did need an old e-mail, piece of software or book...I don’t think that I would even know where to look to find it.

This spring however is different...I’ve made a commitment to really rid myself of the clutter and useless junk that I’ve accumulated both at home and at the office. 

I began by first amassing all of the things that had some utility but I simply couldn’t find a good reason to keep.  This was my "Goodwill" pile. 

Next was the pile of things that were broken and/or worthless (even to a charity) but were constructed of recyclable materials.  This was my "recycle" pile.

Last were the things that had no basic value to anyone.   This was the trash pile.

There were at least 4 separate truckloads of items to be taken to the local Goodwill collection point and be donated.

A few calls were made to salvage companies to come and haul away the recyclables.

Lastly, arrangements were made with the local trash company to make extra pick-ups each week to haul away the piles of trash.

It was a lot of hard work and heart-wrenching decisions but the great purge of 2012 is now almost complete...

I feel as though a great burden has been lifted.  I no longer feel as though I am being held prisoner by my belongings.  The shelving and floor space that were once encumbered with unimportant "stuff" are now organized.  I now know where things are and how to get to them, should I ever need to.  I am ready to begin whatever tasks lie ahead of me knowing that I am ready for action...

If the New Year is a time for planning and goal-setting...then spring is a time for action, to organize and to sow the seeds for future growth...

Spring time brings us a new beginning, eternal hope and great prospects for the bright future that lies ahead...

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we hope to create new beginnings that will lead to a prosperous future for our customers, our vendors and ourselves.

Jim Kalb

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