Insane Clutter Excuses —
How Can I Let It Go When I’ve Had It For So Long?

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How Can I Let It Go When I’ve Had It For So Long?
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How Can I Let It Go When I've Had It For So Long?

Insane Clutter Excuses —
How Can I Let It Go When I’ve Had It For So Long?

How Can I Let It Go When I’ve Had It For So Long? -- learn why longevity is a terrible rationale for keeping something you don't use (#blogpost #clutter #excuse #simplify #rationale #organize #getorganized #storage #lettinggo #cleaningout) at decrapifying a client, I ask a lot of annoying questions.

The most important inquiry (no matter whether we’re talking the getting-rid-of-physical-piles or clearing-out-of-space-in-an-overloaded-schedule or stemming-of-a-paper-tide-that’s-flowing-in-at-head-height-and-causing-liquid-respiratory-impairment) is always “tell me why you’re keeping it.”

Should my peeps present me with a good reason (meaning logical-defensible-and-immune-to-my-indefatigable-efforts-at-satanic-advocation) — that thing/activity/document stays.

If what they offer instead is an excuse for holding onto something that serves no purpose beyond taking up space, consuming energy, or wasting time — we have a further discussion. (Which means I pull out my sharp-and-pointy rationality stick, then start jabbing their overblown justifications full of holes.)

Watching a popped pretext whiz around the room as it leaks hot air, becomes flaccidly-floppy, and loses all power (in a satisfyingly newtonian fashion)? Ain’t nothing more freeing for my organizational charges!

So Imma spend the next several weeks sharing my tips for stabbing a disorder-alibi to death.

Let’s start with the hardest-to-cure clutter, that which has become a fixture. (You know what I’m talking about — the I-never-use-it-and-don’t-actually-care-about-it-but-I’ve-had-it-pretty-much-forever stuff that eventually becomes background noise in your home/office/daily routine.) Some made-ya-laugh examples:

  • high school class notes and college textbooks (seriously — when are you ever going to feel compelled to study Colloquial Alliteration And 13th-Century Russian Political Poetry or Principles Of Microeconomics As Practiced By Indigenous Tribal Societies In The Southern Sudan again?)
  • childhood household decor (you didn’t pick out the seashell coffee table that dominated your parent’s den, and never much cared for gramma’s prized venus-on-the-half-shell-mineral-oil-rain-lamp — but they have thanks-to-familial-gifting-or-inheritance taken up residence in your adult abode)
  • previous professional paraphernalia (you retired from your post as High-Rear-Admiral-And-Chief-Anal-Crevice-Inspector two decades ago — so of course you need to keep those hemorrhoidectomy procedure manuals, six-gross of latex gloves, and every copy of Proctology Weekly ever published)
  • toys your kids last played with when they were three (no, your full-grown-and-now-managing-a-silicon-valley-start-up son does not care about that Mr. Potatohoead with the teething-chewed ear, those viewmaster slides from the Grand Canyon, or his old Teddy Ruxpin doll — I promise)
  • groups you’re a member of for who-knows-what reason (you skip every Kiwanis-Shriner-Rotary meeting and Ladies Auxiliary Bake Sale, you give less-than-a-third-of-a shit about church services or the Annual Toilet Installers Conference — why stay on their mailing-phone-calling-harrassment lists?)

Yes I know these things have been part of your existence for as long as you can remember.

Not to be rude, but so-the-hell-what?

If a particular event, responsibility, datum, interaction, or belonging possesses special meaning — knock yourself out. But I know you (even though we’ve never met, I do). And I can say with a tremendous degree of certainty that most of this nonsense retains zero utilitarian, sentimental, or historical value.

So why are you keeping it?

Clinging to stuff that’s reached the end of its useful life is like tucking a pile of dead-ex-lovers under the floorboards. (You wake up one day to find that your world has become pretty stinky, those attempts at holding onto the past have failed miserably — and all you’re left with is an enormous mess to clean up.)

Learn the lesson Dennis Nilsen and Jeffrey Dahmer never did. It’s time to let ’em go and live in the now.

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    9 Responses

    1. The worst example I remember was a toy that came out of a Christmas cracker. I kept it for decades just because it was cute. Please don’t tell anyone!

    2. Seana Turner says:

      I know I kept too much, especially when my children are little. It’s been interesting to look back and see how much of what my kept my children really don’t want. Your blunt point is spot on!

    3. I still have some engineering textbooks I will NEVER again read. But I have fewer of them than I used to! I’ve even taken a photo of the ones that are left, in preparation for eventually saying buh-bye! (Which will probably be when I need the space for something else.)

    4. Cindy Shirar Gerard says:

      That is one hilarious blog. Having a stroke makes it way easier to get rid of stuff when you can’t remember who gave it to you in the first place…but that’s probably a lot harder than developing a backbone and just getting rid of stuff…

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