Andrew Mellen is a consultant, speaker and author who helps remove "stuff" from people's lives.
I watched a couple of videos of him speaking. He's entertaining, and has some interesting things to say and ways to get his ideas across. Not a lot of what he says is new to me, but there are some nice angles which made it worth my time to re-watch them and take notes.
These are my notes and thoughts.
Unstuff Your Life: Kick the Clutter Habit and Transform Your Life ∞
Unstuff Your Life Workshop ∞
Notes originally written 2012-08-05
A Sustainability Leaders Forum Event: Unstuff Your Life - Workshop with Andrew Mellen
- Andrew Mellen on Unstuff Your Life: Kick the Clutter Habit and Transform Your Life
These are my notes and thoughts, and often aren't exact quotes. I can be wrong, and these are no substitute for the real man or his book.
Getting organized isn't:
About doing more, it's about doing less.
- Imposing a system is doing more. Eliminate the non-essential.
- "Urgent" is not the same as "Important".
Organization is not a diet for stuff.
- (It's strange to say that while saying to eliminate the non-essential.)
Organization is not a hobby, it is a means to an end.
Be organized so as to do the things that are important to you. (Whatever those things are)
It would be best to be able to rank things and see them almost mathematically, so as detach from emotion and judge importance properly. I would liken this to "Triaging".
You are not your stuff. Don't worry about the perception of others.
Willingness and consistency - not "discipline" in the extreme sense.
If you like coming home to a made bed, but dislike making it -- well, rank the negative against the positive and make a decision to always do it or never do it, but put that worry away. This is a Return on Investment (RoI) decision.
There is no mythical "later", someday, etc. If something is important, do it today or clearly schedule it. New things always come up to derail or delay "later".
If it's important enough to do, then it's important enough to commit to and to schedule .. and if it's not, then stop fibbing to yourself and pretending it is important.
Identify core values. Manifest those things in your life.
There is enough time for what's important.
Triangle of organization:
- One home for everything.
Like with like.
- a home, not tossed in a general area or top of a table.
- group similarities.
Have enough of whatever it is you need so that if something fails you can replace it.
(Curiously, new technologies rather upset this idea.)
Have nothing that doesn't serve you.
"Something in, something out."
Every task has a beginning and an end. Don't settle for "it's good enough", don't stop part way, because continuing it later is very inefficient. For one thing, to return to something later you have to waste time reviewing it to understand the task and know how to continue. Another thing is that unfinished tasks are a mental worry.
If everything is precious, then nothing is precious. Identify value / core values.
Know what things are most important, and what their homes are. In case of fire, that decision to rescue what things, and their locations, should be clear.
Digitize and archive anything that isn't in active use.
Don't fear breaking up sets when you don't use pieces.
Sentimentality is a value in and of itself. If it makes you happy, then that is its use and purpose. If it does not make you happy enough to justify keeping it, let it go. Do not collect.
Do not fetishize, charging things with the responsibility of keeping memories. Stuff is too transient, and losing that thing could be shattering.
Offsite storage is just delaying the decision to use or lose something. Compare the costs of storage with the costs of those items. If you're storing a toaster in case your existing one wears out, the costs of buying a new toaster may be less than the costs you're paying for storage.
Define goals, and don't make hard resolutions on intermediate steps. Stay positive.
Break goals into small parts.
Failure breeds failure, and success breeds success.
As soon as you tell someone, and become accountable to a goal, the reinforcement drives one to completion.
Focus on what you want to add to your life, not what you want to take away from it.
Acknowledge the privilege of having enough clutter/stuff for there to be a problem.
Habits take time to form. Take 30 days to really do something.
If you were going to, you would have.
- TODO: I have not taken notes on the Q&A part of the second video.
TODO: I have not taken notes on the third video.