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Book Freak #11: Decluttering

Here's how Andy Warhol dealt with clutter: every once in a while, he'd scoop stuff off his studio de

Book Freak

May 14 · Issue #11 · View online
Short pieces of advice from books

Here’s how Andy Warhol dealt with clutter: every once in a while, he’d scoop stuff off his studio desks and tables into cardboard boxes, tape them up, write the date on them, and put them into storage. These hundreds time capsules turned out to be wonderful for his archivists. I use a modified version of Andy’s decluttering method. When my desk gets overloaded, I put everything in a plastic bin and hide it in the closet. With a clean desk, I can think more clearly. Later, I’ll go back to the bin and deal with the stuff in it.
In this issue of Book Freak: three pieces of advice for dealing with clutter.
Do you have advice from books you’d like to share? Email me:

Clutter fills the future with the past
“An interesting thing about records is that we tend to see them again. That’s what they’re there for, after all. There’s something about looking backward, however, which seems to damage the soul. 
Reactivating dead thought patterns, over and over again, we can feel old desires like ghosts, moving us this way and that as we put ourselves under their sway again. A 15-year-old boy remembers wanting to become an astronaut. A 23-year-old man laments a lost girlfriend. Even the little things carry ghosts: a shopping list never fulfilled for an old project, a half-finished drawing, a story idea in a line. 
If the bad memories nag, happy memories can be even worse. Winning a medal in sixth grade. Old soccer trophies. A special love letter. To be sure, we remember these times with love and fondness, but there is also something bad there. There can come to be a strange gnawing feeling and a dissatisfaction with a present that can never live up to the polished memories of old expectations. 
Be careful of what you force yourself to remember. Be mindful when sending messages to your future self, because it might not want to be bothered so much.”
Should you keep it?
“If you have it, use it. If you don’t use it, don’t have it.” 
Think twice before you buy
“Decide before you purchase anything where you are going to keep it and what you are going to use it for. If your answers to either of these questions are vague, then you are about to purchase clutter. Desist from buying.” 
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