When Things You May Need…becomes…The Clutter You Keep

Unless you’re a devout follower of the minimalist lifestyle, I’ll bet…you’ve got some.

Let me be the first to put my hand up… Hello, my name is Mark…and I have a hard time getting rid of anything I believe can come in handy, ever! All joking aside, there comes a time when the move from being thrifty or prepared moves to the realm of hording junk. Trust me, I can look at the twist tie that came on my loaf of bread and think, hmm I might need that to hold some cables together. Yep, just being thrifty…not!

I’m one who takes pride in being prepared. I enjoy the feeling that if I need something in an emergency that I have something  I can work with till I’m able to get what I really need. (My wife calls me Boy Scout) But at some point it can become counter productive, here’s an example…

Years back I had a conversation with a coworker who said “I bet you’re one of those guys who has cans of saved nuts and bolts.” I replied..yes I do. In which he returned with “I bet I can go to the hardware store and get the exact one I need in less time than it takes you to sift through all your saved ones, and mine will be brand new.” I had to admit it’s a good point. However I said to myself, what happens when the stores are closed, and you need it now? I chalked one up for me, but when I returned home his words were still ringing in my head. Just how “right” was he I asked myself. My conclusion, 90/10 because what I did was discard 90% of the saved items and kept 10% for the “just in case” day. In reality that was all I really needed. It cleared valuable shelf space, allowed me to quantify what I truly had on hand, and also made the space look a lot more spiffy, and I was still prepared for an emergency. Not too shabby I thought to myself.

Many of us keep clutter around that makes us less productive than we notice. We purchase another file drawer to hold papers that we will never need. We hold onto older laptops because “you never know.” We have desk drawers full of things that one has to rummage through like a prospector mining for gold. Last but not least, how many useless email addresses, computer files, discontinued or broken bookmark links and alike are sitting on your machine right now at this moment?

Clean up the clutter, give away the older mp3 players that you’ve stuck in the drawer, give away the 2 laptops that are sitting in the other room unused. Donate the books you’ve read that you know you’ll never read again. There’s nothing more freeing than getting clutter out of your life, but you only realize the benefit after you’ve cleaned house.

So what are you waiting for?

Mark