Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Merlin Mann's War on Clutter

Over at 43Folders, Merlin Mann writes about his War on Clutter. He stresses the importance of discarding as a first step, and I loved this example:

"See: during my last attempt at “cleaning up,” I (seemingly sensibly) focused primarily on organization, or the idea that most of my problem came out of not keeping like with like. So, I was very proud of myself after I’d spend the better part of two days ensuring that USB cables, ethernet cables, firewire cables, SCSI cables, and RJ-45 phone cords were all neatly separated and stored in their proper boxes.

Whoa, wait a minute. SCSI cables? Phone cords?

About half a day into my current scorched earth purge, I glanced across the office to see a box with eight different phone cords in it. Eight. This notwithstanding the fact that I have a single VoIP line and haven’t used a dial-up modem in 6 years. And SCSI cables? My God! I haven’t had a SCSI device hooked to my Mac in almost as long. Yet there they were, nicely organized and ready to serve their non-existent purpose.

Now they’re gone."

[via Lifehacker]


Paula said...

Oh, I did this too. I had custom serial cables neatly boxed--but what they were for, no one remembers, since they date from about 1987. I had half a dozen parallel cables neatly bundled, though I bought my last parallel printer in 1994. I had TV cable wire, splitters, and connectors in their own labled little box, though the most recent ones came free with the Comcast guy, leaving my careful little archive sadly untouched.

I think this particular neurosis centers around the fact that AT THE TIME this stuff was all 1) expensive 2) hard to get and 3) absolutely essential.

None of which matters now, so it all departed after my last move. What's left is 14 (!) empty plastic boxes in which it all was stored...and I'm looking for a good home (not mine) for those!

Jeri Dansky said...

Congratulations, Paula! What's sometimes hard to recognize is that neatly-stored useless stuff is still clutter. But you did, and you got rid of it!