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An interesting email from professional speaker Michael Heppell, this afternoon, described how leaves fall from trees. It was all scientific and stuff, and repeating the detail would be cheating, but the content made me think – “How much clutter do I possess?”, which in turn made me decide to ask you the same thing.

How much clutter do you possess?

As I sit in my office (third bedroom, annexed in a familial putsch which resulted in the inability of vagrant children to return home more than one at a time – which they have done, in shifts), I can see a pen holder chock-a-block with pens, letter trays full of stuff, chargers for various devices and a myriad of relevant files.

And that’s just the stuff I have to keep – the remainder of years of decluttering. I have two bookcases full of (mainly) my Seven Habits ‘collection’ that includes three autographed books and most, if not all their audio products and course workbooks (thanks, E-Bay), which is actually a testament to the hundreds of other books I have returned to charity over the years.

You see, my office is a relatively full, but nevertheless tidy reflection of my attempt at adherence to organised, principle-centred living.

But the rest of the house is testament to my spouse’s inability/unwillingness/stubborn refusal to get rid of the memories. Or tat. It’s subjective.

But my computer is full of e-clutter that I have to dispose of. So that’s tomorrow’s house-clearing task.

Anyway – is your home or workspace the same?

Have you kept everything you’ve ever recorded, completed, built, bought, written and read?

There is a theory that when we hoard clutter – and if we are honest a lot of what we retain is clutter – then we don’t own it.

It owns us.

My computer, for example, contains a hoard of old, written Personal Mission Statements and Value Statements. I have had terrible difficulty disposing of these and (probably) will only move them all to a memory stick when they ‘go’, tomorrow.

But they are holding me back because I keep rewriting them, only to find they haven’t really changed in tone or content since 2013. And because they are all there, I keep switching between them. It’s a silly, wasteful pastime and a small example of how retention of the ‘old’ can have an impact on the ‘now’ while also preventing, or at least hampering, the ‘next’.

A lot of the things we keep are ‘incompletes’, as many coaches call them. Things we intended to do but never did, but retain just in case we get back to them – where the reality is that we fear losing them, or at least fear the loss of time we’d have to expend if we DID, suddenly, decide that those three pages of the book we intended to write had to be rewritten from memory.

Look. All that tat? It’s like a password for an account we haven’t accessed since 2010. We haven’t needed it for 9 years, so its loss won’t be that much of a challenge. So as far as all that clutter is concerned, be like Elsa.