Like many people, I have a tendency to hang onto things “just in case”. I’ve also got something akin to a “man drawer” – a quick look in there today reveals techie gadgets as well as padlocks and a few bits of string. However, the drawer has tended to overflow, and the things I’ve kept in case they’re useful one day take up too much space. So once a year (or maybe every couple of years) I make a big effort to rationalise my study.
An annual, or semi-annual, clearout is a pretty daunting task, but the dead time between Christmas and the New Year needs to be filled with something practical, something other than going to work or, worse, braving the crowds and hitting the sales. (For the benefit of those from the USA, imagine the “Black Friday” shopping experience.) We make New Year’s resolutions, plans to do something different, and so an effort to de-clutter the environment makes sense.
As would be expected, I found some things which I had thought were lost. Amusingly, I also found some old mobile phones and it interested me to see the genesis of the smartphone: where once miniaturisation was the goal, now the phones have grown again. (The phones go back to about 1999 – the Nokia 6310 [top left] was featured in Charlie’s Angels, released in 2000. There are also some missing – notably iPhone iterations – where I’ve recycled for cash!)
I did throw away quite a lot (four large rubbish sacks), and I shredded a vast amount of paper. And of the papers that I needed to keep, I scanned most and securely filed them (with a backup in the cloud) – then they too were shredded.
The clearout was a jolly cathartic experience and I recommend it wholeheartedly. The trick now, of course, is keeping it this way!
I have a feeling, though, that I’ve been here before … so who has some handy tips?