I actually found one not too long ago and wasn’t sure why it was there. (There was a good reason, though I’m not going to get into it.)
But it made me think that no matter how hard we try to be organized, humans are drawn to clutter. Or perhaps clutter is drawn to us.
We seem programmed to accumulate, collect and save. We want so we get. And we continue on this path ad infinitum.
Except for one thing: storage is ‘finitum’ – at least in this world! And pretty soon we run out of org space, switch into cram-mode and reach a tipping point where we just start putting things wherever there’s room. And that’s when stuff disappears and/or pops up in bizarre spots (like under the kitchen sink).
It doesn’t matter if this is at home or at work. In real or digital worlds.
Many people tackle the finer points of de-cluttering IRL.
So instead I’ll offer a few tips on how I ‘minimalize’ (as opposed to minimize) all the junk on my computer:
- Organize and label folders for projects and then file appropriately. Periodically check to make sure that things are where they should be and delete unused folders and docs.
- Save over documents especially when you’re working on multiple drafts. Then go a step further and rename the file by adding the current date. Think of how much looking time you’ll save.
- Clear out your temp and cache and that weirdly named folder where PC attachments get stored after you open them. Defrag every couple of months at least (and if you don’t know what that is, you’re either a Mac user or really need to do it).
- Put the date on each draft document. This is important for something that’s being revised or updated. (And while this isn’t really related, please remember to paginate, too.)
- Spring cleaning should happen more than once a year. Start with your desktop. How many draft documents, spreadsheets and jpgs that you no longer need are just sitting there? Trash them.
If you can do this on a regular basis, you’ll be able to quickly access most of the things you need, make fewer mistakes (since the likelihood is you’ll be working on the most recent version) and not bombard your brain with all that useless stuff. Who knows, you might even clear enough room for that great idea or insight (or even a middling one, which is better than nothing).