So, I’m in the process of cleaning out my home office. I was partially inspired by It’s All Too Much, a book by Peter Walsh that I read last month. But the real catalyst was the fact that we had carpet installed in my office this week. Although I didn’t have time to clean out as I removed stuff from the office, I decided that, insofar as possible, nothing was coming back in without a good hard look. So far, I’m doing pretty well, but there is still lots and lots of stuff out in the hall.
One of the things that Walsh says (though not in these words) that hit me like a lightning bolt was that you should keep the stuff that enables you to live the life that you lead, not the life that you imagine leading. If you don’t like the life you lead, then change it, but don’t just accumulate stuff in support of an imaginary existence. As I was cleaning out a desk drawer this evening, I decided to pitch quite a bit of stationary. It was perfectly fine stationary, but it has been years and years since I sat down and wrote someone a letter. Maybe that’s a bit sad, but it’s true. And I really don’t see myself taking up letter writing again any time soon. So why keep a drawer full of stationary? I did keep a couple of boxes of notecards, as I actually use those sometimes to dash off a note to friend or family member.
Also in my drawer, I found a set of hard plastic coin tubes. These are supposed to save you from the trouble of having to actually count your coins when rolling them, though you still have to sort them into denominations. An easy choice to pitch, as they reminded me of something I recently learned. A few years ago, I poked around with a CoinStar machine at the grocery store. The fee for using those machines was (and is) almost 9%. That is, in order to get a $1 bill, you have to put in $1.10 in change. I scoffed. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay a machine almost 10% to count my coins. (This probably has as much to do with being a cheapskate as anything, but anywho.) Well, somewhere along the line, they added the option to turn your coins into a gift certificate with no fee. Put in 100 pennies, get a $1 gift certificate to Amazon (or one of several other retailers). Easy. Since then I don’t count coins (and I’m no longer tempted to buy those crazy coin sorting and counting banks, which I always loved as a kid).