Packrat. Cluttered. Messy. Multi-tasking. Overwhelming. (Too) intense. Crazy. Funny. Handsome. Awesome.
I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever been called “simple”. As recently as 2006, I could have been a good candidate for one of those news stories about “hoarders”, whose lives have been taken over by their possessions. At my old place, I had an office plus three bedrooms all full of my stuff—papers, equipment, furniture, and more dusty unused crap than you can shake a stick at. One bedroom was dedicated entirely to paperwork, and I basically never went in there. (Who would want to, right?)
You get the idea. Handsome? Yes. Brilliant? Sure. Simplified? No freakin’ way.
But since that time, I’ve gotten rid of 1/3 of my stuff. And then I got rid of 1/2 of what was left. Now I live and work in one 400-square-foot room, and it’s cleaner and more organized than my old house ever was. And I’m leading a much simpler life in most other ways as well. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m a lot happier and feel more fulfilled each day than I did back in my “packing and stacking” days.
The point is this—it’s relatively easy for a naturally organized and orderly person to keep things neat and simple. They don’t like clutter, and their natural instincts tend toward preserving order. They would never, ever end up as one of those unsettling hoarder households that you see on the news, or feel compelled to enter a “messiest desk” contest.
But what about the rest of us? Is there hope for folks on the other end of the spectrum? The packrats? The multi-taskers? The handsome?
Well, if my journey is any indicator, there is plenty of hope to go around, for even the worst clutter-magnets among us. Because no one was a worse clutter-magnet than me, nor a more world-class packrat. And if I can find simplicity, anyone can.
This new column will be dedicated to exploring that journey—one which is still very much underway. (Just ask the 7,426 voice recordings, ~1,000 videos, ~2,000 pictures, and ~3500 emails that still need to be dealt with.)
I hope you’ll join me in the months to come; I’ll try to be both useful and entertaining. (And funny, handsome, and awesome, time permitting. ;-))
This column was featured in The Simplifier #4.13.