One of my favorite home and how-to bloggers is Karen. She will tackle just about anything in her blog, The Art of Doing Stuff. She’s laid a patio, put in a pond, built a chicken coop and installed shelving with hidden storage. One of the things that she does every year, and challenges her readers to tackle too is to throw away 50 things.
As Karen puts it, you can “donate, ditch or destroy.” Just make it be gone.
When I saw her challenge last week, I was in the midst of a shingles outbreak. It was delightful said no one ever. I wanted to use this challenge to get my office in shape but, to put it mildly, I was not in the appropriate condition to clean out the closet, get rid of another pile or three on my desk or clean off a book-case. In fact, I wasn’t doing too much more than sitting on my fanny and napping.
What could I do while sitting around? As I considered this, I clicked on my e-mail and inadvertently moused over my inbox. I had 80 unread pieces of e-mail but something like 276 message in the box. 100 seemed like a lot and I had nearly three times that much. No wonder I was having troubles getting some things done.
So that night, I finished going through my new messages and then re-sorted the old ones by sender. Nine messages from a single yarn vendor. I quickly disposed of all but 1. Another 10 back issues of a newsletter that I had saved to remind me to resubscribe. Once I done it, the messages languished. Click and gone. Soon I had deleted 25 old messages.
Each day, I read and the new messages. Then I deleted at least 25 of the old. My goal is to have fewer than 25 remaining by the end of this week.
The funny thing is that as old messages go, my productivity picks up. I’m not having to sort through a huge list of messages to find the one piece of information I need for that newsletter article. And I’m willingly dealing with things instead of sitting on them.
Is electronic clutter slowing you down? Clean out your in-box. Unsubscribe from vendors and lists if you regularly delete their messages unread. Electronic clutter can be just as bad as paper clutter. And once you get that under control you can tackle some of the things you’ve printed out. Get rid of 50 pieces of clutter a month and you’ll be surprised by the progress that you’ve made.