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Peter Walsh's clever hanger trick

Here's one of my favorite life-hacky tips from Peter Walsh (guy from Clean Sweep, author of It's All Too Much, and inspiration for my recent War on Clutter).

After you've done a major purge of your closet, remove all the remaining clothes that live on hangers, and put them back in backwards, such that the open end of each hanger now faces you. Got it?

Then, mark your calendar for six months (or whatever) from today, and go back to your business as usual. Except that after every time you wear a shirt or a jacket or a skirt or what have you, when you replace the item, make sure the hanger faces the opposite/usual way (with the opening in the back).

When your n months have passed, and your calendar reminds you that it's time, open your closet and remove every piece of clothing on a backward hanger; the chances are good you can give it away without the slightest pain, because you just clearly demonstrated that you don't wear it.

Here's why I love this.

I've said before that, in my estimation, a life hack is any kind of trick that forces the Smartypants part of your brain and the Dumbass part of your brain to stay in proper communication.

Your Brain's 2 Minds

You think to yourself "Oh, I wear this all the time. I couldn't possibly throw it out." But humans are notoriously awful at accurately estimating these kinds of things -- I know I am anyway. And it takes stupid tricks like this to prove what inevitably happens when we let our Dumbass run off-leash.

In the same way that you can't lie to your iPod, a good behavior-based life hack like this one will ensure that what you think is happening is supported by the evidence of what's really happening. Just a trivial bit of physical-world intervention will -- as my friend, Mr. Veen says -- make the right thing into the easy thing.

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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