As you look around the room you’re in look at all of the stuff, papers, books, magazines, I could go on but it’ll change depending on the room you’re in. Regardless of how neat and clean you are if you look hard you could probably find a few things around that you don’t need but still keep. Our desks, rooms and lives are cluttered with stuff that we don’t need but can’t seem to convince ourselves to throw out. Essentially I’m at the point where I need to go through all of the stuff that I’ve collected over the years but for some reason haven’t thrown out and purge.
To start with this isn’t a process that only I’m going through but one that a few of our friends are in the middle of and one that a couple bloggers have posted about in the past little while. My wife and I started off by determining that we needed to clear up space and get rid of the stuff that we don’t need and identified a couple places within the house that had too much stuff. We started with closets and the den. My task was the den since has over the past couple years become the room in the house that collects stuff that belongs in no other room in the house. It’s the junk room and unfortunately for me its my default dumping space for anything that bring in.
The other thing that has been pushing me towards the purge has been the concept of efficiency and effectiveness that is peppered throughout the business books that I’ve been reading. That in turn made me thing about all the things that I do on a day-to-day basis and what could be better about that. Naturally the moment I stepped into the den with this line of thinking in my mind I thought about purging now its time to gt to it.
The Difficulties of Purging
Saying that you’re going to purge the massive collection of unnecessary things that are doing nothing more than collecting dust and actually doing are two completely different things. In Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week he suggest the idea of Elimination as key point to getting to that mythical 4 hour work week; as part of this he does say it’s not easy. Until you’ve started going through shelves of books you haven’t opened in years and papers that have 3-year-old scribbles you don’t realize it’s not as easy as it sounds. The den, my space, had all sorts of books and magazines – mostly computer related books. Each book I picked up the though that would run through my mind would be: “oh I can see when I might need this”. The reality is if I haven’t opened it in literally years there was no point in waiting for that mythical maybe time; visions of possible future use that might never happen was one of those mental challenges I needed to get over. Needless to say I’ve managed to throw out 4 boxes of books (well recycled) and the more I purged the easier it became and I got better at picking out the junk from the things that I wanted to keep. Trust me it gets easier as you get going on purging the trash it’ll become easier to suppress the thoughts such as:
- But Aunt Millie gave me that hideous blanket we never use – I can’t throw it out
- Oh this is an electronic gizmo I paid a small fortune for – I can’t throw it out I paid to much for it
- I got this when we were on vacation in Cuba that time – I know we’ve got 3 of them but I can’t throw it out.
When you live in a small space you need to be much more efficient about how you use your space or stacks of papers and books will threaten to drown you in an avalanche of paper. As part of this whole process we went to a store that sells organizational things and picked up a bunch of boxes and things to organize our place a bit better. The boxes are primarily for storing things that we don’t need right now but don’t want to throw away. Remember you can find a nice solution for keeping things and storing them away efficiently but you can’t use this as an excuse not to throw out the mountain of stuff that we’ve all inadvertently collected. There are lots of stores and products that can help you keep your life more organized, take advantage of them when you can – stores like Ikea have whole sections devoted to organizing your small places.
Some Perks to Purging
Now there’s one final consideration that you need to keep in mind; as you go through all of your stuff you’ll find things you thought you lost that are important to you. But you’ll also find a bunch of things you don’t need or want that have some value to them. Personally I found a camcorder that I bought on a whim for way too much money that I never use. I’m going to sell it for some extra money, which I’ll use to pay down my debt that little bit. Remember your old baseball card collection or your comic collection? Well they might be worth something if you sell it; especially if you’re debating throwing it out anyways.
Purging all of the unneeded junk that I’ve collected over the yeas and throw it out isn’t the easiest process in the world but having fewer things frees up space that I didn’t have and just lightens life up. Less clutter simply means that you can find more things and just don’t have to worry about knowing or not knowing if you have something. Then there’s the added perk of potentially finding some old treasure you forgot you owned not to mention finding something worth money you don’t need anymore that you can sell.
[tags]clutter, efficiency, throwing out stuff, cleaning, extra money[/tags]