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My War on Clutter: Inspiration for Independence Day

Tomorrow is the Independence Day holiday here in the US, so a lot of folks reading this will have the day off from work. If my own clutter war is piquing your interest in improving your surroundings, tomorrow could be the occasion for you to put a few minutes toward making a dent in your own pile.

Here's some inspirational (and cautionary) links to get you started.

  • Unclutterer: Tips - A major tip of the cap to Jerry Brito and his pals at Unclutterer; in addition to having great tips on doing more with less, this is the site where I first learned about Peter Walsh's book, It's All Too Much, which I will freely credit with kicking off my recent spree of de-cluttering
  • Declutter 101: Declutter Strategies - This is the first place I ever saw the "four box strategy." While this amount of sorting is a little more nuanced than my own scorched earth approach, it's much more appropriate for people with minor clutter issues or who are just in need of a little regular maintenance.
  • Declutter 15 Minutes per Day - If you can slice through the velvety nougat of prose in which they're suspended, Fly Lady's tricks are almost always fantastic. This page pulls together some of her best tips in one place. Highly Recommended and very life-hacky.
  • OC Foundation: Hoarding Introduction - Information on understanding and treating compulsive hoarding. Hoarding is real, widely misunderstood, and totally sucking for everyone it touches. While not the garden variety source of clutter, it's something to be aware of if the clutter problems of you or someone you love are spiraling.
  • Squalor Survivors - A support site for compulsive hoarders and anyone living in squalor. The before and (yikes, even some of the "after") photos from this site's contributors are dramatic, to say the least (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • Collyer brothers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Perhaps the most infamous compulsive hoarders, the Collyer Brothers lived and died surrounded by "over 100 tons of rubbish." That's in one Manhattan apartment, mind you.

Do yourself a favor, though. Don't just read and gawk. Take at least one step today to do something that clears a single small area or that ensures one dead piece of your world gets delivered to the curb.

Whatever your current state of clutter keeps you from doing (or being), remember it all starts with the first piece of junk you move out of your world. Talk about independence.

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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:
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