July 04, 2016

Independence, Debt, and Clutter

The four big forms of everyday suspense in America are clutter, a busy schedule, debt, and excess body fat. More often than you would think, they go together. This makes sense when you consider the effect of a person’s time and energy — when you don’t have the time and energy to solve one problem, you won’t have it for the next problem either. The positive side of this is that when you break free from suspense in one form, you are probably well on your way to solving it in its other forms too.

Today, Independence Day, has me thinking about the link between money and clutter. I’ve been spending the day going through my house, taking away some of my excess possessions.

May 08, 2016

Stamp Out Hunger 2016

If spring cleaning includes cleaning out your pantry, you may have perfectly good food to give away. For most U.S. postal customers, that’s especially easy to do during the Stamp Out Hunger drive on Saturday — just leave grocery bags of food near your mailbox or mail slot before your letter carrier arrives. Donations go directly to local food charities.

Stamp Out Hunger 2016 postcard

April 05, 2016

Branson on Sleep and Success

Most people will agree that sleep feels good but may be surprised to hear that sleep is a key to success. On the occasion of the release of the new Arianna Huffington book The Sleep Revolution, Richard Branson writes about the value of sleep in his blog:

March 31, 2016

Tons of Trash

During March of Trash we repaired, recycled, gave away, sold, composted, burned, and trashed tons of stuff. The pickup truck I saw, said to be on its last legs and on its way out, must have weighed at least two tons by itself. We put things away. We found stuff we had lost or forgotten. We upgraded our lives by throwing away worn-out shoes, chairs, cooking pots, sheets, and towels, replacing the worn-out items with better ones we already had. Tons of obsolete paper files were recycled. Neglected equipment found its way back into the flow after being given away or sold. This list included hair cutting shears, a bread machine, a carpet cleaner, a typewriter, and a guitar game controller. A strobe light and a snow shovel were repaired and returned to use. At least one participant has set aside stacks of boxes for a tag sale in April.

March 28, 2016

Room for Something to Happen

We don’t clear clutter just as a matter of abstract principle, but because it makes a real, immediate difference in what we’re able to do. Removing clutter means making room for something to happen. Here are a few simple examples:

March 25, 2016

Holiday Weekend Clutter-Busting

Today is the first day of a holiday weekend for many of us. The holiday can have different implications for different clutter-busters. Here a few suggestions for some of the most common situations:

March 22, 2016

Clutter-Busting in the Face of Bad News

I woke this morning to reports of bombings. Unknown assailants had killed 20 people on their way to work, along with more people in other locations. This kind of news can cast a shadow over a day, even one as sunny as today is in Pennsylvania. I have been telling myself for years in situations like this that the best response to death is for those of us who remain alive to live our lives the best we know how to. That sentiment doesn’t help as much as it might seem it should. It can be hard in the face of disaster to focus on all the tedious work that must be done. It is still better to do some work than to give in to despair (or morbid curiosity, poring over news that says the same thing it said an hour ago) and do no work at all. Whatever work you can do on day one makes day two seem that much lighter.

March 19, 2016

The Back-of-the-Closet Effect

If you’ve cleared away the obvious clutter that’s right in front of you, it might be time to go look at the back of the closet.

Go look at things you don’t look at everyday. Something can be clutter just because you haven’t seen it for so long that you’ve forgotten you have it.