How I Hit Delete in 2015

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

You Have Too Much Shit

It’s so direct and I can’t recommend it enough. The ebook is a free download and is only 10 pages long.

So with the new motivation I devised my own 3 requirements for the new declutter.

Comply or die:

  1. If you have used the item within 1 year
  2. If there is aesthetic value to the item (looks awesome and gets you inspired)
  3. 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.

2015-grid-tees

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.

Spotify has 99% of my previous MP3 collection

Spotify has 99% of my previous MP3 collection. This is taken from my 2015 year in review.

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.

2015-grid-memoribilia

We’re talking:

  • Wedding garters
  • Your first watch
  • Band lanyards
  • Surfing awards
  • Teeth
  • Magazines
  • 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

Memorabilia delete.

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.

A screenshot of the fun Footer Love project I did with Derek Clark

A screenshot of the fun Footer Love project I did with Derek Clark

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.

Bad Ideas

Please take a moment with me and appreciate that right column:)

“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.

Rescuetime screenshot

Here is a RescueTime screenshot of a month of mine last year. Email (bottom left) taking around 22hrs a month. That’s a full day. Previously it was way more.

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!

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