Treat the things you own in a timely manner

Posted by in Productivity

I own an alarming amount of things – a house full, in fact. There are times I wish I could magically halve the tally, but a life which includes a spouse and two small children easily negates this as an option. Surprisingly, things (get it?) are for the most part kept under control, and here’s how.

Fewer is better

When it comes to things, order and tally have an inverse relationship: the more you have, the less organized they are. And, unless you have a fetish for categorizing, labelling and organizing large amounts of physical objects (of which I am unequivocally guilty), your goal should be to own fewer things.

Why is that, you ask? Well, apart from saving the planet and aiding your fellow man, it makes things simpler for you.

Do you really need that?

My approach towards slaying the Hydra-esque beast that is things is by only keeping the things I need, which makes them easier to retrieve in times of need, and archive them when I’m done.

The ones I don’t need, I religiously sell, give away or recycle. This way, others can make use of what I no longer need, and if I’m fortunate, I might even aid in the prevention of having yet another copy manufactured. By doing so, or through recycling, I’m saving the planet – one square centimeter at a time.

If I’m unsure of whether I need something, I place it in a holding bin that I empty every quarter or half year depending on how full it is. By the time I revisit its contents, my gut will have taken care of the decision.

Memories matter; things much less so

I hold on to very few physical items for the sake of nostalgia. The mobile phone with which I sparked a relationship with a cute girl a little more 14 years ago is one of them. Gifts from her and my children are others. For everything else, I take pictures to remind me of what was – and if I don’t happen to be carrying a camera, I always carry a smartphone with one.

Everything has its place, and goes back there every single time it’s used. This way, not only I but everyone else in the household – at least in my utopian fantasy – don’t waste time trying to find something. My children, of course, regard me much as they would a blithering idiot when I try to explain this concept to them.

When something breaks, I don’t replace it until I need it. Some times, I discover that I didn’t really need it at all, which means one less thing to take care of. Or, from another perspective, it means one more moment for me to do what, or be with those, I love.

I find it’s a fair tradeoff.