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Get STUFF Out of Your House

Get STUFF Out of Your House

Not unlike my earlier post, “Editing Your Life,” I’m still obsessing over the ideas of cutting to make space for things that matter. Let’s talk about that in your house. I’ll admit that there’s a recurring theme to this post: DONATE THINGS. THROW THINGS OUT. If you’re the ultimate pack rat, skip this post.

  • Old clothes– You’re saving clothes that fit five years ago for when you drop that elusive twenty pounds. Chuck it. Donate it to one of the many needy causes out there. Drop it in a church bin. Whatever. Make it leave. It doesn’t matter that it was once expensive. If it’s not useful to you, how much is it worth? And shoes? Really. Look at all your shoes and tell me you’re really using all of them. Keep your Top 5 pair.
  • Books– I just heard you gasp. Yes, you bibliophiles. There are books on your shelf — I know this as well as I know my name — that you will never refer to again, and that aren’t especially valuable. Donate them to the library. Get your kids to sell them on Amazon.com or eBay for summer money. Whatever. But really take a look at your shelf and ask yourself just which books you really use for reference, or keep because you know you’ll reread the story again, and then determine which you’re keeping “just in case someone wants to borrow them.” Chuck the latter. Everyone has access to books. If you feel really bad, ship the books to a developing nation program (Anyone here have good links to such?)
  • Electronics– Do you have a seven year old camcorder that you used a lot when you first got it, but haven’t even charged the battery in well over a year? Give that to a school. Let kids use it for producing movies. It’s out of date. It’s not useful any more. Cheaper, smaller, better, faster ones exist. Feeling like you’re throwing away money? Try selling it on eBay and see what it’s worth.
  • Dishes, Pots, Pans– Some folks keep things around “just in case” they need it. Consider how much stuff is in your home and really give that another look. Do you think you’ll be deep frying dough again any time soon? Do you need twenty glasses in case you have a party like the one you had four years ago? Donate this. Plenty of people can make use of it.
  • Old computers– You want to do something great for your community? Take all your old, functioning computers, throw Ubuntu linux on them, and give them away to various community services. Give the working peripherals away, too. You’ve got your system. What are you really going to do with those other clunkers?
  • Furniture– Some folks keep furniture around for “just in case” as well. I think this all stems back to a time when things weren’t so readily avaialble, but ask yourself: when was the last time you needed an emergency dresser or extra kitchen chair? The world economy is built for such emergencies these days. You need something quick and cheap? Go to WalMart or IKEA or your local craftsperson of note. Donate the old stuff in your house to people starting out families or who’ve survived a fire, or who otherwise need the stuff.

It’s not what these things cost you when you bought them that determines their value. But if you start looking around your home (or your business for that matter), you’ll find that there are things that linger in your home that cost you something else: ease of use of your home, extra expense (for instance, if you have to rent a storage space because your house is so cluttered), upkeep time when doing housework. There are costs related to those things sitting in your house for free, and I argue that more often than not, they outweigh the benefit of having such things around “in case you need them.”

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Finally, try this as a method for determining what should go: pretend your house has suffered a terrible fire or flood. What would you wish above all else survived the experience? Everything on your list that didn’t qualify for that question? Chuck it.

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–Chris Brogan tries hard to simplify through reduction and editing, including cutting back on superfluous words on his posts at [chrisbrogan.com].

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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