One of the biggest changes in my life over the last year has been this idea of purging. I am not a “horder” by any stretch, but I can often find reasons to keep some things around that I really don’t need. I would say, I am no worse than the average bear in what I keep. I do keep things though, and I am talking stuff that if I am totally honest with myself, I won’t touch in the next year or possibly even 5 years. Yet, I will hold on to it. That has started changing and what I am finding, if you treat purging as an iterative process, you can really get a lot done.
This makes total sense to me, as my life for the last 16 plus years has revolved around the iterative process known as the software development lifestyle. Over the last year, I have figured out that the purge process will never end, and that you should circle back around every so often and revisit items you still haven’t used. I find that something that I wouldn’t have purged 6 months ago, I am much more willing to purge now.
I think the reason behind this is when we are faced with an item that we had to make a decision on 6 months ago, and are again found asking the same, should I keep or toss it, question, we realize it has been sitting around for 6 bloody months still totally untouched. And you know the rule. If you haven’t touched it in 6 months or more, it either gets trash binned or donated.
This evening, my wife showed me an old notebook of mine and a book I always wanted to study called “The Sound Reinforcement Handbook.” that she had found in a box she was currently purging. I was faced with the decision to keep or dump these items. It kind of hurt as I paged through the notebook and saw some of the bits and particulars I had in there. Nothing crazy important or impressive if I am honest, but still, it was a piece of me from as far back as 2007.
I hemmed and hawed for a few, but in the end, because both of these items had been on the chopping block earlier last year, I decided to chuck the notebook and donate the book. I had to be honest with myself. The notebook wasn’t that special to me, and while I would love to learn more about the details of audio production, it isn’t happening in the next few years. I finally told her to get rid of them both.
Why did I get rid of them this time, but I couldn’t almost a year ago? I am telling you it has to be this iterative process of being faced with the same borderline-keep items I looked at just a few months ago. I am seeing this play out time and again. And you know what, it works. We have donated and trashed more stuff in the last year than probably any year previous. That includes stuff that we wanted to keep, but in front of the court of purging, could not provide enough evidence to warrant that it be spared. At the end of the day, we have less junk and more space, and I like that. I like that a lot.
What purging processes have you found work for you?