Katie Klein recently reminded me about the blog becomingminimalist.com, and I particularly like this post. Especially, "Your decluttering journey is not a race," and, "Don’t let perfect become the enemy of better. The first time you go through your home, you won’t remove all the clutter. You’ll keep stuff that didn’t need to be kept. ... You may even remove a thing or two you’ll end up wishing you had kept. But you will make progress."
I was reading a
bunch of blogs on minimalism and decluttering, and I became aware that
it is possible to get perfectionistic and competitive (as with anything
in life, I suppose). For me, decluttering is an attempt to simplify, to
make my life more relaxed, not more rigid. So I won't make rules about
exactly how much stuff I will discard or keep, or exactly when I will do
it. As long as I'm still making progress and feeling good about the
changes, I'll continue as steadily as I can.
I've also seen some
recommendations to convert as much as possible to digital. I have mixed
feelings about this. For some people, I'm sure that going digital is a
useful decluttering tool. Digital books and files surely take up less physical space
than their paper equivalents. And I'll always be grateful for the ease
in revising, copying, and distributing digital documents--to me, this is
the major advantage of a computer over a typewriter.
storage and for actionable documents (such as bills), I personally don't
find digital to be The Answer. Aside from the security issues, I
actually find paper documents easier to manage, easier to track, easier
to see. One thing I'm noticing about the simplified organizational
methods I'm encountering is that they recommend storing your stuff in
such a way that it's all visible at a glance, to keep things simple and
accessible. For me, that means paper files rather than computer files.
In fact, digital clutter is as much of a problem for me as
physical-object clutter. I have lots of stuff on my computer that I just
want to clear out. (Apparently I'm not alone. Colleen Mondor at Chasing
Ray blogged about digital clutter issues such as "e-hoarding" and paring down email.)
Digital may be the solution for many people; if so, more power to them.
But I see the potential for digital clutter to be a problem, too.
me, having to hold on to a document at all is a much bigger issue than
whether I'm storing it physicall or digitally. Either method of storage
is a small weight on my mind; it's another thing to keep track of. I'm
best served by keeping only what I need.
And for writers,
documents are a big deal, whether they're paper or digital. Not only do
we have stories and story ideas and research notes and character
sketches and critique notes and everything connected with the creative
process, we also have contracts and receipts and royalty statements and
business cards and tax documents and various items associated with the
business side. I've decided that dealing with these papers will be a
little farther down my list of priorities. First I'm tackling
low-hanging fruit like clothes and shoes and linens. Books will be
another tough category to weed, but I return to the reminder I quoted at
the top of this blog post. It's not a race, and all I have to do is
keep making progress.