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Clear out the clutter


It's remarkable how much stuff you can accumulate. You begin with huge time expenditures to research, select, purchase and transport stuff to your home. Then, when you've got it, you have to store it, clean it, take care of it, repair it, move it, and buy even more stuff to store the original stuff in. For some people, that means means a bigger house. Their home is really just a big pile of stuff with a roof over it. Their lives are spent accommodating their stuff.

So resist the urge to add more things to your life. Hold on to possessions that you really need or that you really love. Get rid of everything else. But perhaps you can't decide if something should be kept, thrown out or recycled. So here's a simple technique. Put an expiry date on it. Make the date well into the future. One year should be enough for most of the things you own. Use a post-it note, or write on the item itself. This goes for clothes, books, wedding gifts, kitchen gadgets, sports equipment tools, children's toys and all the other miscellany cluttering up your life. Once the expiry date arrives, you have all the permission you need to get rid of it. When you do, don't save your stuff in anticipation of holding a garage sale. Purge your possessions every six months or so. Put them out on your front lawn with a sign saying "Free Stuff." It's amazing what people will take away that you could never sell. They're happy and you're free of your junk. Your time is worth it.

Mark Ellwood is a productivity consultant dedicated to improving people and processes through consulting, training and facilitation. Reach him at mark@GetMoreDone.com or www.getmoredone.com.

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