Decluttering Time

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unclutteringIt’s decluttering time baby!

I have been going around in circles for some days.

Going back and forth switching from Thesis to Genesis themes and viceversa.

I’s a really long boring story but it has a goal in the end, trust me.

Digital Nomads

I have been reading a lot of stuff about digital nomadism lately and I mean some massive reading on the subject.

Topics on how to live a more meaningful life with less things and all that stuff that sounds so hippie-related in our XXI century.

Quick out of place disclaimer…

If the first thing that springs to mind is a 1960’s hippie whenever you read digital nomad I have the same exact impression as you do but apparently it has nothing to do with that, it’s just the new age entrepreneural life.

These guys (digital nomads) can do a lot of stuff I really don’t think I would ever be capable of.

I’m used to live with so much junk around, that having an on-the-road kind of life, doesn’t really sounds that much appealing to me.

So while I’m FAR from living owning just 100 things, going car-less or running barefoot any time soon, I have been taking some steps towards decluttering my life as much as I can with only one thing in mind (so far):

To be as productive as I can, while not turning myself into a working machine (or lose my mind like I explained on my latest post Thank God It’s Monday)

Are You Busy Trying To Be Productive?

Two days ago I was talking on the phone with my girlfriend and apparently we always have the same conversation at one point or another, it starts something like this:

She: “So what are you up to today?”

Me: “Working.”

She: “Ah good, so have you done a lot of progress then?”

Me: “Well, I have watched a lot of videos I needed to watch, sorted out a few techie things with the blogs, working on some ideas on the whiteboard, you know, the usual planning.”

She: (some silence…) “Great, then I really hope you sort out all your tasks for today and I’ll call you later ok?.”

Me: “Oh but, you already know it is the never ending story with this. I’m ALWAYS busy so let’s just do something fun in the night, I could certainly use a break anyway”.

This is just an excerpt of something that can be a really long conversation on the same thing, over and over about working my ass off and not accomplishing anything.

If you have ever seen the movie Groundhog Day (American comedy/drama movie from 1993 and highly recommended).

Well it’s the story of my life since I got started with this Internet Marketing joy ride (I just remembered that Roxette’s song lulz).

And I need to stop this madness, find a balance between actual work, my learning curve and having a life with my loved ones.

Accepting I Have A Junk Problem

I don’t know much about this area but I certainly agree that a decluttered, clean space can make you work a lot better and faster than in a workplace immersed in chaos.

I’m normally a guy who lives in clutter mode due to being a musician and an engineer. (if that’s not enough excuse for you then just assume I’m a very messy guy, it won’t hurt my feelings anyway.)

So mess, we meet again.

Cables, connectors, computers, motherboards, guitars, guitar effect pedal boards, guitar amps, mics, mic stands, drum boxes, midi controllers, speakers, sound systems, it is CHAOS in all its expression.

I have been doing an amazing job at keeping my (very large) desktop ultra clean but I can’t say anything about the rest of the room.

I even think I have spiders living with me somewhere around here but enough of that.

Decluttering Starts In 3… 2… 1…

This is (or was) the plan.

I currently have a lot of:

  • computer electronic junk
  • dozens of carton boxes
  • clothing
  • running gear
  • music gear

And basically that’s it.

1. Computer Electronic Junk

I realized I have a lot of stuff that works and nobody wants it here and it’s definitely stuff that I wouldn’t like to just throw in the trash since it can be of good use for somebody else.

I mean memory modules, connectors, cables, a lot of electronic equipment.

2. Carton boxes

Plenty of carton boxes lying around and the plan was using Mercado Libre (eBay’s baby brother for Latin America) to get rid of all the electronic junk with the boxes included.

I have two options with this:

a) Throw the damn carton boxes in the trash and give away my belongings to my friends (easy but absolutely no ROI)

b) Put everything on Mercado Libre as planned and sell ridiculously cheap (time consuming, I’ll get rid of the junk very slowly and a little bit of ROI)

Honestly, I think I’m going to go with option A on this one and forget about the money.

3. Clothing

I think I have more than enough clothing and it’s a mixture between old and new clothing, plus things I’m just never going to get rid of (hard to explain but I’m in love with a few pieces of clothing)

Well going back to the Digital Nomads way of thinking, they just have what is really needed.

So as an example, they’ll have just one pair of sandals, running shoes, casual shoes, boots, and that’s it.

In my case, I have about 4 or 5 pair of casual shoes, about 5 or 6 pairs of running shoes and the same goes for everything else like pants, shorts, shirts, long sleeves, etc.

I really can’t just have ONE piece of clothing for everything, that’s insane.

Anyway to not make this post bigger than it already is, I decided to get rid of a lot of my clothes and believe me, it was hard to do.

I basically got all of my clothes out of the closet and the drawers and with my girlfriend’s help (I needed the extra push) we started deciding what to keep and what to give away.

She wanted to give away a lot more than I did but I’m happy to say I did keep what I wanted in the end and I managed to build a big pile of clothing ready to go.

There are a few places where you can go and sell pieces of clothing at $1 a piece, even though it crossed my mind for a while, I just decided to give it all to our cleaning lady (she gives those clothes in her community… or at least that’s what she told me).

So this experiment happened about 10 days ago, I did the same thing last week and I didnt have so much problems in picking stuff to give away the last time.

Who knows… Maybe it’s not that bad to have fewer choices for clothing in the end.

4. Running Gear

I have a lot of this stuff and even though I don’t plan to get rid of anything, I can get rid of some stuff like dumbells, baseball glove, a dozen of baseball hats, soccer jerseys, soccer shoes (not running gear per se but still).

What I would never even touch is my electronic equipment for running like heart rate monitors,  sport watches or portable music devices made for running.

5. Music Gear

This is another hard one for me.

I own five guitars, midi controller (like a big keyboard), a guitar amp, guitar FX, cables and a lot of digital audio equipment.

For anyone that wants to get rid of all the fat and keep the muscle, the quick option would be “keep one guitar and get rid of the other four”.

Easy to say, hard to do.

There’s a reason I have five guitars, two of them are acoustic and the other three are electric.

I have one classical acoustic (nylon strings, small body for fingerpicking) and an american acoustic (big body, steel strings, deeper sound).

And for the electric ones I have my first guitar, which is a guitar mainly for rock, a fender standard and a custom fender.

The reason why I’m explaining all these boring details to you, is that every single guitar has a purpose and since I want to get into the teaching guitar niche that’s why I am still keeping all of these guitars around.

I know I am going to sell them at some point but I just can’t do that right now, so there’s no improvement on decluttering on this area either (yet).

Special Bonus: Hard Drives Decluttering

I did not announce this because you can’t actually see the junk when it is digital but it is certainly something that keeps messing with my head.

We all have PLR files, a lot of downloaded books, reports, even full courses that are just accumulating digital dust.

I’m not joking but I think I even had a video for aromatherapy somewhere (not that it has anything bad but I really couldn’t care less about that topic so why have it?)

Anyway, I won’t get into much more details on this, all my hard disks are below 1GB right now and I have plenty of very large HDs.

I’m starting a deleting frenzy and I hope that a few days later I can have most of my hard drives running with the essential files only.

I’m planning to get a huge hard drive from Amazon just for storing files I download from the Internet and to keep everything else uncluttered for life.

It sounds impossible but hey, at least I have to try it!

Your Turn

What is your take on this?

Do you get rid of stuff constantly in order to make space for the new (and positive) things to come in easier?

Take care and if you have some experience on this, I’d love to hear it.

Sergio

PS. I’m sore like hell from yesterday’s run but oddily enough, it is a pain I kind of like.

PPS. If you don’t think the picture on this post looks cluttered, then check this one out: https://twitter.com/#!/ITSergioFelix/status/182220313608728576/photo/1/large

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9 Responses to Decluttering Time

  1. Patrick Griffin
    Twitter:
    March 20, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    Hi Sergio,
    I am currently going through exactly the same process you describe here and I don’t know why I am finding it so hard.

    There are some people who seem to live entirely organized lives with everything in its place and no clutter anywhere but I am not one of those people.

    I have always lived in a kind of messy organized chaos and my office is like yours (in the first picture) except much more messy.

    One of the things I am having trouble with is getting rid of things I have collected over the years but never used and yet I still don’t like the idea of getting rid of them.

    I think a lot of it is to do with family backgrounds and upbringing. My parents never had very much money and always had the attitude of “let’s save this because it will come in useful one day.”

    Even when things were completely useless, like old pieces of carpet or broken bits of furniture would be kept “in case they would come in useful one day.”

    Anyway I did the same thing you did and I have either thrown things directly into the trash can if they were useless or have been taking things to the charity shop if they were not useful to me but might be bought by other people.

    The next thing is clothes. So I will probably just do as you did and take everything out of the drawers and decide what I no longer need.

    I also have so much junk on my computer and I have many programs and applications I would like to delete but because I don’t know what most of them do I fear I would remove something useful.

    Maybe I would accidentally remove the file that makes the second line of the keyboard work and in that case:
    ten o my comment wou oo ie ti

    As you can see without the middle line of the keyboard working, effective communication is almost impossible.

    Anyway I hope I will be able to continue the decluttering process because I know it is the right thing to do.

    Patrick.
    Patrick Griffin recently posted..Pitch Imperfect: Why the online ‘foot-in-the-door’ sales technique is wearing thinMy Profile

    • Sergio Felix March 21, 2012 at 12:04 am #

      Hey Patrick,

      I know exactly that feeling of storing things just because they can be useful at a later time. I do that all the time man.

      About the clothes, I’m going to tell you something very interesting…

      Since I got rid of a lot of my clothing (I did it two times and I’m pretty sure there were more than 50 pieces of clothing) I haven’t miss one single thing that got given away.

      It really is not that bad and believe me, I’m some sort of an accumulator myself so this is the real deal talking here man.

      Just try it out with a few old shirts and work your way to it.

      It’s funny because I see everything with a very different attitude lately.

      Now I’m always telling myself “I could really live without this” or “Do I really need to keep this for life?” (the answer is normally “no” to that)

      But… I’m also being conservative because I don’t want to end up living in an empty room either! LOL

      Hope you manage to tell us how it went for you Patrick.

      For me it has been a very pleasant experience so far and I feel I have been taking insane weights from my back.

      Speak soon and take care man, I know you’ll manage to sort your workplace and your clothing as well. ;-)

      PS. If I am doing it, believe me… anyone can!

  2. Jens P. Berget
    Twitter:
    March 20, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    I can truly relate to your story. Not only do I have a sprained ancle from running, but I keep cleaning up my own junk all the time. Do you use s software to manage your tasks and help you with productivity?
    Jens P. Berget recently posted..Long Tail Pro – A Video ReviewMy Profile

    • Sergio Felix March 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

      Hey Jens,

      Seems like everyone has a little bit of a junk problem somewhere haha!

      I mainly use TeuxDeux which is more like a to-do list application (it’s free too).

      I know about the Pomodoro Technique but I honestly downloaded software for it and never used it.

      I know Steve Scott has some great posts on that matter but I also remember you have a few reviews on this as well.

      The problem resides in that I consciously avoid the hard tasks and those are the ones that actually need my attention.

      I will definitely need to start putting myself out on the line (public challenges) because it is the only way I actually move forward.

      Speak soon and thanks for bringing this up Jens, take care!

  3. Pauline
    Twitter:
    March 21, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    Hi Sergio
    My husband is like you and collects stuff and is always reluctant to give it away or throw it away so I am always trying to de- clutter all his things but he says “it just may come in handy for…..” I have to admit I am a bit the same when it comes to digital things on my hard drive, like yourself I have collected a variety of PLR, reports, videos, e-courses etc and they are just sat there without me getting around to doing anything with them, I confess I think well I just might need that e-book or course one day…… I need to sort through and get rid of a lot of it so thanks for spurring me on to do this!
    We all need a push now and again :)

    Have a great day
    Pauline
    Pauline recently posted..How Social Media Can Help Build Your ListMy Profile

    • Sergio Felix March 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      Hey Pauline,

      I think we all have done it at some point (collect digital goods that turn into digital junk at a later time).

      The idea is to be aware if it really has some value for us in a short amount of time and if it doesn’t, then we don’t need to be saving those files at all.

      I used to collect ton of books on programming because I always thought I was going to be teaching programming to students at any given time.

      That never happened and I spent years collecting all that stuff, go figure!

      Glad I could help and also thanks for stopping by and contributing with the blog.

      Hope you have a great day and that you can clean your hard drives too.

      Take care! ;-)

  4. Ana Hoffman March 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    Groundhog Day happens to be one of my favorite movies, Sergio.

    And no wonder: that’s how most of our lives are – day after day after day of the same stuff… UNLESS we make the effort to change that.

    Cleaning out your closets is one way of doing it, I suppose. lol

    Thanks for reading my blog!
    Ana Hoffman recently posted..Market SamuraiMy Profile

    • Sergio Felix March 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

      Hey Ana,

      What a pleasure to have you here! ;-)

      To get out of the routine, I suggested my girlfriend to go and have dinner at a different restaurant every single week (there are lots of places for that where I live) but that still doesn’t cuts the routine out for me.

      I’m still working on it and now that I started to work with offline local businesses it surely has been different (but not so fun so far lol)

      Anyway, thanks for coming here and hope you’re having a great day today! ;-)

      PS. Groundhog Day is hilarious and one of my favorite movies too.

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