They say a change is as good as a holiday. Well that is not true at all. A holiday can be a change but a change is not necessarily a holiday. In fact a change can be more work. But ultimately change can be a good thing.

I am moving desks this week. I like my current desk but due to changes in the team it’s needed for someone else and I have now reached a point of seniority that I can move out of open plan and into an office. (Actually I reached that point a year and a half ago, but as part of my new job was to share my knowledge, it made sense to sit with the people with whom I was supposed to share knowledge instead of locking myself away in an office.) I’ve been moving my stuff in gradually but while packing and sorting I have found lots of “miscellaneous paper” that has moved desk with me at least twice. It’s time to get rid of it.

And this is why change is good. This pile of papers would have continued to sit unattended in the back of my filing cabinet for who knows how long. Change forces me to deal with it now, at last and get rid of it and lose that little sinking feeling I get every time I see it. I’m also sorting out odd bits of stationery and junking stuff into the shredder that I have held onto for no good reason. My reward will be moving to a new space feeling lighter, and in feng shui terms, I’ll have made space for good things to flow in. The “things in the bottom drawer” won’t be haunting me anymore.

This comes fast on the heels of a clear out of files at home. My husband flicked through some of our filing one day and commented that some of it was very old. We spent a couple of evenings going back through our files and found bank statements and credit card bills going back to 1998, payslips from 15 years ago, statements for bank accounts we closed down 10 years ago, photocopies of passports that have now expired. We recycled anything anonymous and then rest has gone into a pile to be shredded. 6.5 kilos of paper!

All this paper that we were holding on to, in the belief it was important or special. And yes, it was fun to flick back through these old documents (“Look! Credit card bills for our trip to Prague in 2001!”) but we hadn’t ever looked back at these documents before and we probably never would again. It felt good to get rid of so much dead wood (literally dead wood – I’m sorry trees for your sacrifice.)

Change also brings good things to light. I’ve had a tendon problem for the last half a year so have been wearing pretty much only one pair of shoes at work since then. So when I had to move all my shoes from my current desk (I’m sure other office working women understand that thing about having a drawer full of shoes) I found shoes I forgot I had. I have green shoes! I bought them second hand but they were nearly new. They are high and strappy but very cute and go with almost nothing. But they are cute. And I found a box with leopard print ankle boots! I remember being very excited when I bought them (online, on sale, after a glass of wine) although I haven’t worn them much because someone commented that I looked like Teresa May in them. (And they are a little bit tight – that’s the problem with buying shoes online.)

All this change and clearing out and making way for new things and appreciating things anew feels very appropriate for spring. In my garden the same thing is going on – I’m clearing away the dead growth from last year, cutting back things that are overgrown, digging the soil and putting new compost in so things will grow well this year, and feeling little bursts of happiness at seeing plants come back to life one by one. So maybe in my new office, with the ghost paperwork all gone, I will also have space to grow in the summer.

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