My daughter has often teased me that I have a little bit of OCD in my system. I prefer an ordered and minimalist environment. Unfortunately, I also have a propensity to engage in a wide range of activities. Each one brings clutter.
Digital clutter I have, by and large, under control. Which is amazing considering the following: 200 plus emails a day, tens of thousands of digital images, tens of thousands of audio files, blogs, photoblogs, and a half dozen PCs to manage.
Paper clutter is more challenging. I have a pretty good file system at home however the volume of paper that comes into our house is also staggering: snail mail, newspapers, magazines, books, cards, analog images. Sorting, filing and cataloging this material is often a challenge. Books and magazines that I want to keep are dumped into a holding room. Memories in the form of paper items collected from trips, cards from friends, report cards, etc., are tucked away into banker boxes. The cumulative effect, after decades of paper acquisition, is clutter.
Household finances can also get challenging. Managing cash flow, investments, expenditures and acquisitions can be surprisingly complex. At least in our household. Doing well is a blessing. Managing that blessing often seems to require the presence of a dedicated and full-time CFO.
Stuff. Stuff is just out of control. I mean how much stuff does a North American household really need? I do not say this with pride, rather with shame. We have two major holding areas in our house to store stuff. Stuff that is obsolete like old VCRs and old studio gear. Stuff like old computers. Stuff like old furniture. Stuff like paint cans. Leftover construction material. Rugs. Carpets. The list goes on and on.
Our holding areas are so crammed with stuff that we literally are getting stuffed out. We may need a larger space just to store all this stuff. And, from what I see in our neighborhood, we are not alone. At least we have a garage that we can use. Most of our neighbors have so much stuff that they have to use their garages as storage sheds. They park their cars on the driveway.
All of this frustration over clutter. And this from someone who is a highly organized person.
I have been trolling the web and there are numerous sites that focus on strategies for dealing with clutter and improving organization: Unclutterer,Â Psychology of Clutter, Zen Habits, I’m An Organizing Junkie, Clutter Control Freak, Disorder2Order.
Frankly, I don’t think the issue for me is with what needs to be done. I am an organizing machine. It is the time and the relative priority to deal with the household clutter. With so many commitments in my own life, dealing with clutter falls way down the list. Which bothers me in a way because I know that there is an emotional reward with getting things simplified in our home.
I do have a couple of weeks coming up over Christmas. Perhaps I might use that time to tackle one of the holding areas. Start the new year with less clutter.
Hello from Australia! How about giving us three-four tips for managing both *(a) digitial clutter; and (b) paper clutter?
Hi Neville. Thanks for dropping by the blog. And I promise I will post on my approaches to managing digital and paper clutter. Within the next couple of days.