I’ve always been pretty neat and enjoyed “decluttering” my surroundings.
But last year, I stumbled upon Chris Thomas’s epic book, You Have Too Much Shit and realized I still have waaay too much stuff I don’t need.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” ~ William Morris
“Well, the shit is pretty much everything else.” ~ Chris Thomas
So with the new motivation I devised my own 3 requirements for the new declutter.
Comply or die:
- If you have used the item within 1 year
- If there is aesthetic value to the item (looks awesome and gets you inspired)
- If you will be extremely bummed you are not physically holding the item in 20 years (difficult one this)
Each non-conforming item needs to be digitized for posterity sake, uploaded to Dropbox and then given away. Ok, take a deep breath, the first one stings…
01 – Band Merch
By far the most difficult one but I just hadn’t looked at them or wore them in years. I told this story to my mate Johnny and he was almost in tears! Last year I took all my tees and hoodies to the local night shelter in Kalk Bay. They were so stoked. But first I of course took hi-res photos of all of them. Back and front. Band Merch delete.
02 – All MP3’s
I signed up with Spotify and deleted 15 years of collected MP3’s. What a scary but liberating feeling. I only backed up a handful rare punk albums not on Spotify in my Dropbox. From a file-naming and bit rate point of view, Spotify really soothes my OCD vs 15 years of attempting to keep this consistent. MP3 folder delete.
03 – All Series
I used to collect these in the hope I’ll rewatch them. Hilarious. So I got one more viewing of Friends in last year and said cheers to Central Perk and the rest. Series folder delete.
04 – External Drives
As all my photos and work files are now in Dropbox, the above two now make my external drive obsolete. They’re buggy fuckers to be honest and also become quite stressful worrying where they are once loaded up with important stuff. Going forward, every line of code I edit gets uploaded to the cloud instantly. External drives delete.
05 – Memorabilia
Remember requirement #3 – anything tangible, that I’m ok with not being able to touch in 20 years, must go. I took hi-res photos of each item for memory sake and gave them away or recycled them. It’s strange how you actually land up worrying about this stuff that just sits in a box on top of a cupboard?! This was a gruelling but rewarding process that I only appreciated months later.
- Wedding garters
- Your first watch
- Band lanyards
- Surfing awards
- Gifts not used (sorry!)
- Event tickets
- Band lanyards
- Photos of teeth
- Band pins
- Your high school farewell shirt
- Funeral brochures
- College cards
- Business Cards
- Your first GI-Joes
- That (incredibly awesome) Tazo collection
06 – Side Projects
To focus more on my main business One Page Love and One Page Templates with Currl, I parted ways with some side projects. I sold ThemeCobra, Pear Hosting and gave away Footer Love. I learnt a lot from each and will be blogging about them in my Idea Bin category. Side Projects delete.
07 – Bad Ideas
Previously blogged I started an Idea Bin category. This helps lay average-to-bad ideas to rest and allows me to focus on the winners. I also started to drop all my ideas into Trello and not scribble them on paper that collect dust in the office. Trello allows lists, comments, attachments and is also searchable. So ideas in progress are now safe online, much better. Bad Ideas delete.
“Clutter is not just physical stuff, it’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits” – Eleanor Brown
08 – Clothing
Every Monday our legendary domestic worker cleans our home and office. I can’t remember a week last year when I didn’t give her at least 1 item. This is a great way to give something away and not worry about trying to get money for it. Tip: When you buy a new item of clothing, force yourself to give an old item away. Clothing delete.
09 – Email
Last year I moved over to communication tool Slack and it has really thinned down the volume of emails in the inbox. If you are working with a team Slack is a game changer. As mentioned in my 2015 Reflections blog, I also moved from Gmail to Google Inbox and this really allows me to be more ruthless with deleting email. Email delete.
10 – Christmas Presents
If you know me well you know I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas. Last year I told people upfront I wasn’t giving any presents. As grinch as it sounds this automatically narrows the doorway to stuff you probably don’t need. If you really need something, go and buy it yourself. If you can’t afford it, you probably shouldn’t own it. Ouch! Christmas Presents delete.
Bonus point – Negativity
I’m putting much more effort in surrounding myself with positivity. I work for myself and have limited hours in my day, so I need to stay inspired. Weeding out negativity ranges from seeing less bad acquaintances to customizing (read unfollowing) what you see on Facebook and Twitter each day. Got no time for it. Negativity delete.
Hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes blog. It was actually quite fun and nostalgic to put together. I also hope it can get you inspired to Hit Delete and give some stuff away. Thanks for reading!