8,600 things gone, only 1,400 things to go
I trod the slippery slope of decluttering someone else’s things last week and found myself in the unusual position of putting it all back today.
I blame my upbringing. As kids, my sister and I were taught two things: 1) work is sacred and 2) you don’t touch other people’s stuff. So when Squirrel took offence to my decluttering his file cabinet last week, I tried to shrug it off, but my conscience kept chattering at me.
It’s his stuff…It’s his stuff…It’s his stuff…
Funny this little voice had nothing to say when I raided his basket collections, toiletries or T-shirts. But this was a filing cabinet – full of files! No foodstuffs or footwear to be found. And they were files that represented a lot of time and work to Squirrel.
(Did I mention that Squirrel’s profession is selling high density storage systems? I’m only just seeing the irony in this.)
I asked myself one question: “How would I feel if someone decluttered my writing?” And that’s when I found myself in Squirrel’s office recluttering.
As I put the files back, I could see they were probably not files that would be referenced frequently. And by that I mean, I doubt Squirrel will look at any of them ever again. He’s spent the last week marvelling at the miracle of the iCloud and sighing heavily when he has to explain it to me for the second and third time. If you could store files on the moon, he’d be the first to get that dialled in.
So, it’s obviously not getting rid of the paper that bothers Squirrel but perhaps the time it represents. I get it. I throw fits every time I lose an email I spent more than 5 minutes on. However, I took the liberty of sourcing some advice for us. About half of the files he saves are printed quotes, easily retrievable from the desktop, the iCloud, the moon. To his credit, Squirrel follows all these “paperless” rules except one:
Place a filename on every document worth keeping. In our office, if a document does not have a filename, it gets named or tossed out. This is true whether it is a paper or electronic document.
I doubt Squirrel would find it necessary to name a quote, which leaves the other half of the paper he saves – completed jobs. These files contain, drawings, dimensions, bills, parts lists, even some chicken-scratched details only he can understand – definitely worthy of a file name. By following the naming rule, Squirrel could cut down his paper storage by half and I could easily declutter the nameless files without any guilt. Sure hope he’s as excited about this as I am!
And just in case you think I’m going soft – some things around here are still totally unacceptable:
Trick or treat???
What I tossed today: 80+ computer and TV cords and cables, skis & boots, snowboard boots, potty, curling iron, bike seat (all listed (some already sold) on craigslist.)