Once upon a time I used to be a music teacher. I trained to teach secondary school Music and English, but ended up teaching Music from preschool through to year ten, and middle school English and SOSE (history/geography/civics). When I left teaching seven years ago it was fairly abruptly, and at the time I didn't know if it would be for one year, two years, ten years, or forever. So I just packed everything I had into five boxes and put them into storage. As it turned out, I had a baby before I had opportunity to take up another teaching job.
Two years ago I did the sums and worked out that if I did teach again I would have been out of it for ten years, probably twelve. There are already new syllabuses in place for the subjects I taught, and will be yet another new one by the time I return to work. My resources will mostly be so out of date that I won't be using them anyway.
So I sat down with my five boxes and culled. I threw out class sets of worksheets that I never used. I threw out bits and pieces of English resources that I had collected but never taught a full unit on. I threw out doubles of assignment task sheets and extra copies of exams. I managed to pare it down by half.
Today, the Small Boy wanted to play out in the garage where the boxes are stored, so I set to work culling again. It felt rather momentous because I looked at my materials in the box mentally marked 'music' and realised that I would probably never teach Senior (year 11 and 12) Music. I never taught it when I was working, and don't really want to teach Music if I do teach again. The bits and pieces of materials for teaching Senior Music that I was saving in my box are worthless now and will be even more worthless if I were to return to teaching. So I threw them out. I also pared back all of my P-10 resources so that I have just the bare bones. I stuffed one display folder with unit plan overviews that I can build from again if I ever need to. My 2 1/2 boxes is now down to 1 2/3. When I next get a chance, the box mentally marked 'English/SOSE' may not be safe!
I'm not willing to part with all my teaching materials just yet. I will possibly teach part time one day in the future, and don't want to have to start everything from scratch. Until I can say definitively I will not be teaching ever again, I don't think it is wise to part with it all, but I do want to pare down to just enough to get me started if I need it.
But, as an added bonus, my husband (who is a primary school teacher) looked at his six boxes of resources and starting culling, too. He's barely looked in those boxes in five years and knows a lot of what he owns is also out of date.