43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Mark Morford on de-cluttering (and the SF reuse culture)

Why Do You Have So Much Junk? / Oh yes you do. And there are TV shows to prove it. Question is, what are you gonna do about it?

The always-enjoyable Mark Morford has a cure for the clutter in your life that doesn't involve gnashing of teeth or the intervention of a TV show. He calls it getting rid of stuff.

The cure is simple, so graceful that it will make you feel lighter and healthier and good the minute you start, and of course you can start right now and you don't even need any drugs or wine or nudity, though those always, always help.

This is what you do: You throw stuff out. You go through your closets and you fill up garbage bags and you even grab stuff you've clung to for years for no apparent reason, and you haul it all down to Goodwill or Salvation Army or (in the case of San Francisco) leave the usable stuff out in the street overnight and let the urban recycling phenomenon work its magic, as some lucky passerby scores your old futon and the three grungy frying pans you haven't used since 1987.

San Francisco's culture of "urban recycling" is real and it's very cool. Obviously, stuff left on the street gets picked up, but don't delude yourself Sister Suburb: it's not just hobos, methheads, and The Sand People snatching up your goodies. We all pick stuff up off the street.

Madeline and I know people whose whole (fancy overpriced) house was mostly furnished by "junk" from someone's curb. And the beauty part is, when you tire of it, you just stick it on your own curb, and the music goes round. You lose your clutter, gain some space, and make some anonymous Citizen a little happier.

I suspect there's a reason Craig's List started in San Francisco; it's a social city that's just not afraid to deal with other people's junk. (Sure, you can read that several ways; my pleasure.)

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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