“Nutty with A Dash of Meat” Jeanette Levellie here, with an excerpt from my newest book, Shock the Clock: Time Management for Writers and Other Creatives:
I was going to include a chapter about keeping clutter at a minimum as a means to manage time. But then I looked around my office and spied piles of papers and books on my desk, a tape measure hanging from the doorknob, and a bulletin board showing very little cork. In the dining room, the backs of our chairs serve as shirt hangers, and cat toys litter the floor. Bibles, journals, and books jostle for position on my love seat.
So I can’t write this chapter, because I am a clutter hypocrite. But if I did write it, I’d tell you that:
- Clutter complicates not only our environments but our lives, distracting us from accomplishing what God has called us to do.
- When we own too much junque, we become slaves to our possessions. They go from tools to tyrants, demanding time to clean, organize, and put away.
- If we measure the value of things by how much they benefit us in relation to the time and effort we give them, we can identify clutter vs. treasures.
- Lasting happiness is based on loving, healthy relationships—with God and others. Taking care of, sorting, and tripping over a huge collection of things depletes our spiritual and emotional energy that we could be spending on relationships.
- Simplicity doesn’t equal poverty just as luxury doesn’t mean all is well. It doesn’t take a warmer on our toilet seats or musical coffee makers to bring enrichment to our lives.
I’d also suggest that if you realize your home or office is full of clutter, and you want to de-junque, you should start by getting rid of anything that:
- Is broken and not worth fixing
- Is the wrong size, color, or style
- Is taking up more room, time, or money than the happiness it gives
Then I’d tell you how to accomplish this:
- Enlist help from a trusted but objective friend who isn’t as attached to your collection of hair bows from elementary school or scratched Elvis records. Spend a day together de-junqing everything that fits into the above three categories.
- Give, give, give to charities, homeless shelters, and thrift stores. Just don’t give it to relatives who are likely to give it back to you, or a second-hand store you frequently shop at.
- Reward yourself after each room, drawer, or box you’ve cleaned out. But not with more stuff! Read a chapter from a novel, look at cute kitten videos on YouTube, or watch a movie. Then revel in how much time you are freeing to write and focus on relationships.
But, alas. For the reasons mentioned above, I can’t write this chapter. I’d feel terrible if you read it, took its advice, and then sent me an email saying how much more you’re accomplishing since de-junqing your office and home. I’d be envious of your simpler lifestyle and the extra time you had to spend writing. That feeling might force me to call a friend and ask her to help me de-junque, so I could gain more time.
Perhaps I should write it after all. . .
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