May 31, 2007

How To Throw Things Away

How To Throw Things Away

According to Michele Passoff, author of Lighten Up! Free Yourself from Clutter, "everything that is important must have a specific place. If it doesn't, it's trash." Since the wastebasket may be the most important and most underused item in your home office, you may want to ask these questions when deciding whether or not to trash a piece of paper:

  • Is the information recent enough to be useful?
  • Can it be found anywhere else?
  • Is it important from a tax or legal standpoint?
  • Are there any particular instances when the information would be used?
  • What is the worst that could happen if the item was discarded?

In early 2002, I decided to declutter my apartment in San Jose, California. I came up with six rules to live by:

  1. About 80% of what you have now will be replaced with something better in less than two years.
  2. Prioritize your needs.
  3. Learn to live with less than what you have now. (Simplify your life)
  4. Do you need it, no? Then throw it away now.
  5. There's no value in keeping everything, the more items you have the less value it has.
  6. Organize, Organize, Organize.


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