Archive for the ‘Clutter’ Category

Dealing with Email

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Email is a hassle. My inboxes (I have multiple email addresses) get jammed chock-full of marketing trash, “helpful” advertising from my online billpay, bank accounts, and credit cards. It is a pain in the tuckus.

Using filtering rules (a la Outlook Rules) helps some. But my inboxes still get full.

Plus there is the legal end of things: If you run a business, and conduct business through email, you had better keep those records. For IRS audits (to prove that yes, you do use your computer for business) if nothing else.

So why do my various inboxes total over 2,000 emails today?
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Clutter To Profit

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

There was a point in my life where my book collection exceeded the entire science fiction/fantasy collections of every public library in my region of the primordial scrub. It was great! I had over 4,000 books, and I’d read over 80% of them cover-to-cover. (The other +/- 20% were donations or lots picked up at sales that I hadn’t gotten to yet.)

I had a reputation for hard rental pile of rocks moves (boxes of books) with great compensation – dinner at a steak pile of rocks, order whatever you want up to $50.

After a couple of moves, some of those boxes didn’t get opened again. After my S.O. and I moved in together, I had an entire closet full of boxes that didn’t get opened. After we moved into our permanent pile of rocks, I had half a room, stacked 4-5 boxes high, that didn’t get opened.

It was my stuff. It was in our way. Some of those boxes hadn’t been opened in YEARS.

So, let’s tally up. I had, over the course of twenty years, spent around $4 per book (conservative estimate) for a total starting at $16,000 and only going up. I had gained a great deal of pleasure from having and reading those books. I had gained mental and creative stimulation from those books that has served me very well over my entire life. The value of these benefits is, to me, incalculable.

But I hadn’t put many of my treasures up on book shelves to display, loan to friends, or re-read in too many years.

They had gone from treasure to stuff. Stuff creates clutter. Clutter stops up your life, plugs up the pathways mental, physical, and emotional, that you use to LIVE life.

With my S.O.’s help, I began to declutter my books.

The hardest part was recognizing that my beloved collection, my (foolish) pride in the size of it, had to go.

Then came the added bonus: I donated the books to charity‚Ķ to the tune of several thousand dollars. Delayed gratification, yes. But gratification nonetheless. That line item in my tax write-off was NICE. It didn’t equal the cost of the books, but it did make a difference in our taxes.

Now, there is a valid (very valid) point that if I’d poured that money that I’d put into collecting into an index fund instead, that I’d have thousands more in assets than I have now. But I didn’t. I made the choice. If I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, I would still buy *some* of the books (about 50%) and invest the rest of the money.

The point?

1. I turned clutter into a financial asset.
2. I turned clutter into an entertainment benefit for others.
3. I recycled books in one of the best ways possible.

Sounds like a win-win to me.