FIRE Milestones – Taking Stuff Home From Work

2007-10 - GMI MGO (1)

With just a few weeks to go before early retirement, I’ve started the process of taking things home from my MegaCorp office.  My plan is to take home bits & pieces until April Fool’s Day, when I turn in my badge & laptop on my final day.  It’s a small but meaningful milestone in my path to early retirement on April 1st.

Related Milestones: Giving Formal Notice, Telling Colleagues, What Will You Do In Retirement?

I started bringing home my library of business books quite a few weeks ago.  I had about 40 books on the shelf in my office, so about a month ago I thought I’d start bringing home 1 book a day as a bit of a ‘countdown’.  As the bookshelf dwindled down, I’d be that much closer to my final day – that was the thought.  Of course before long I started to forget to bring one home each day and didn’t calculate in weekends.  Finally last week I brought home two giant bags of books.

I also spent a couple hours last week going through my office drawers, where I keep my office supplies and miscellaneous things.  Since I’m not going back to a job, I had a stack of business cards I could go through & throw away (who needs them with LinkedIn, anyway?) I also have lots of miscellaneous bric-a-brac in my drawers.  Much of this stuff has followed me through three MegaCorps and fifteen offices throughout my career.

Everytime I bring a bag of things down to my car in the MegaCorp parking garage, I’m amazed at how much my junk weighs.  You tend to bring things into your office one thing at a time, one day at a time – a book, a picture, or a memento.  When you take things home, however, you move them en masse – a stack of books, a bag of pictures, or a box of momentos.  You really notice how much stuff has accumulated over time.

It’s kind of a somber job to take take your office apart and remove your stuff from it.  For better or worse, it is your home away from home and most people at MegaCorp personalize them to some degree.  Each day as I bag things up, people come by and say “packing up, eh?”  I know that they are really looking around to see if I am leaving anything good.  I’m sure people will be in there within an hour of when I leave to swipe a quality stapler, three hole punch, Post-it note dispenser, or something else that might be an upgrade from what they have today.  🙂

I forgot to take a picture of my office before I started dismantling it.  It’s never been my favorite office, but I wish I would have captured a picture of it as my “last office”.  It is funny that the places you spend the MOST time in are the places that you bother to snap a picture of to remember.  I don’t think I have a picture of any of my offices for the last 10+ years, even though I spent what seems like a million hours there.

How much junk do you keep in your office?  Is it highly personalized, or a bit sterile?

Image Credit: – (my office four jobs ago from 2007)




8 thoughts on “FIRE Milestones – Taking Stuff Home From Work

  1. I opened my drawers: I am happy, there is not too much junk, just 1 chocolate, some napkins, some photo, cards, some old documents printed, and a lot of pencils.
    I will put the pencils and the extra cup in the kitchen, with a label: for free.


  2. I can’t believe you’re down to just 10 days! Exciting. Just ONE MORE MONDAY!

    We both work from home, so won’t have that ritual of taking stuff home. More likely will be packing up our work gear and sending back our laptops, phones, maybe printers if the companies want those back. I’ve been wondering lately how the goodbye will feel when there’s no physical presence. I’m sure hoping that I can time a trip back to the office for some client project near the end of the work so I can say goodbye to many of my long-term clients in person!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has been nice to savor ‘the long goodbye’ as I’ve come to think of it. I’ve had 30 days+ to chat with people, wind down projects, and think through what I’m leaving behind. I think it’s important to have some transition – even if it is one last trip for you to HQ.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for mentioning not having pictures of offices. Too true; we spend so much of our time there, but never stop to think we might like to have an image to remember it by someday.

    Just today. I went into Manhattan for lunch with a former coworker. I realized this may be the last time I ever see the building where I used to enjoy one of my most favorite jobs. Because I had been reading your blog, I took a picture of the building on my phone. I’m grateful to have seen your words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear! My son finishes his senior year of high school tomorrow and I’ve encouraged him to take some pictures of his classrooms and locker. I’m not sure if he has yet but I will ask him again in the morning.


  4. I used to keep more stuff at my megacorp cubicle, including printed presentation slides and printouts of things I was proud of it thought I would reference (but never did).

    Now I throw everything away. No paper, very few supplies, no trinkets or momentos at all! It’s liberating not to be tied to a bunch of stuff.

    I have a single picture of the kids and that’s about it.

    When I eventually get the call that in too expensive and therefore laid off (with 6-figure big severance I hope) my goal is to remove it all in one small box.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been done working a few months now and it’s surprising how little I’ve looked back at anything so far.


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