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A Matter of Perspective

Dissolving the clutter

So you say you have a little clutter in your life? Yes, me, too!

Clutter seems to be a constant in some of our lives. Short of being called a “hoarder” I do throw quite a few things away, but in my basement, there are definitely paths! I don’t like it. So, I decided to do something about it.

First steps

I knew the basement would be a lot to take on as the first of my projects, so I decided to start with something smaller and more manageable—my desk.

My desk has been my nemesis for a long time. I may have even written about it before. It is a catch-all for clutter. Papers, files, folders, tape dispensers, unusable music CDS, bills, calendars, thoughts, ideas, and various miscellaneous things that just seem to land on the desk and never get touched again.

And, yes, that is a container of “Flarp” on my desk. You know, the putty that makes a “gas” noise when you play with it!

I think the shelf is starting to bow with the weight of all the collected papers, books, documents, and other assorted stuff.

But how to change this and keep it changed (short of psychotherapy!)?

Being the researching machine I have become thanks in part to writing blogs and also thanks to my newspaper career, I began to look up things on how to reduce clutter.

I bought a couple of books, too. E-books mind you, I didn’t want to have other things find their way into the clutter piles.

I really liked one suggestion that seemed appropriate for my desk at

It talked about having a system to manage my paperwork. The biggest thing was to go paperless. I have done that for most of my billing, but some of it still accumulates on my desk, table, end stands, and elsewhere.

A fine suggestion in the article that I read was to scan the things I absolutely needed and keep them as digital files.


Second steps

Now the problem was getting started. I am a bit of a procrastinator—if it can wait until tomorrow, I will find a way to put it off until next week!

The task before me looked to be insurmountable. Years worth of paperwork. Years worth of dust. Years!

I looked at the task before me and felt that nagging feeling of being overwhelmed.

But I decided I had to start or it would be another day, another week, another year before I made any progress.

I got out a couple of boxes and a garbage can. I filled the smaller box with things that I wanted to keep and then I filled the garbage can with everything else!

I was able to sort out all of my journals and set them up and found hundreds of pens, pencils, and other writing utensils.

I set up both of my computers on the actual desktop instead of being placed carelessly on a pile of papers. (One computer is my personal one and the other is my work computer).

I was able to actually find the pile of papers for this week’s newspaper work! I pulled those out and took another photo. Things are looking a whole lot better.

What I decided to do

I decided that just like in my e-mail, the best thing to do was to get rid of stuff. The majority of my desk clutter was old papers and magazines and things I have not looked at in months. Some of it, I am embarrassed to admit, I haven’t looked at in YEARS!

Part of that decision was knowing myself well enough to realize that if I didn’t do it—JUST DO IT—then I would find a way or a hundred ways to avoid it!

What I learned

Just like in everything else we do in life, sometimes we just have to go for it and let nothing stand in our way! There are so many times that we manage to stand in our own way and accomplish nothing.

I learned that when I put my mind to something I can rock it!

The desk isn’t perfect, but it is a whole lot better than it was before! And now, instead of lying and saying I knew where things were on it, I can actually say, with confidence, I know where things are on it!

Next steps

Now I simply must employ this desk cleaning tactic not only to the rest of my house but also to the rest of my e-mail inbox!! I am down about 1000 from that number but there is still a long way to go. Apparently, I have kept some e-mails back as far as 2016! I can’t even imagine that I can access them anymore!

We can all probably take a good, long, hard look at our lives and find ways that we can trim the clutter. We can find ways to narrow the lists of tasks we have to do. We might find that some are not necessary at all any longer.

I know I have a long way to go, but I am really excited to have this clean desk to start tackling them on!


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