declutter-paperShooting From The Hip

There's nothing like a family member to give it to you straight…. especially a younger one!

My son was visiting from Spain – first time I'd seen him in almost a year, although we keep in regular touch by email / phone.

He's the computer genius, so of course I'd saved up some technical jobs to keep him from getting bored. That meant going into my office – the inner sanctum of chaos that no-one is allowed in, especially my lovely cleaning lady, because “her vigorous dusting” dislodges cables, I've found to my cost. The consequence of this is that it's (organized) chaos.

First off, Russ took the vac to the fan on my PC and sucked a clump of dust out, after which I have pc-innards-mfto confess it ran more quietly. Please don't take that as a recommendation to start hoovering out your PC – no responsibility accepted – that was a “Don't try this at home”!

Then it was the rest of my office that took his eye….

“Mum, when you pop your clogs, we'll have to demolish this place!” he said. “Stop hoarding stuff.”

Well… although it came across a little brutal, he has a point I suppose. My other son, Matt, says that amid the chaos I can find any requested bit of paper (or computer file) within 30 seconds – but I know that he sneaks into the loft when he thinks I'm not looking and “prunes” some of my older files.

When Russ left to go home, I was sad. I won't see him again until Christmas, and I was watching the little plane on the live flight tracker take him further and further away from me. I couldn't settle down to work until I knew he was safely landed – and I knew he had a long drive after the flight too. So I was “mooching”, and – it's fair to say – I was brooding a little about his words, and the thought of my two sons going through “everything” and saying “What on earth was she thinking of, saving all this rubbish?”.

So I decided to show him I'd listened to what he was saying… and to pass the time until I heard he was safely home, I started clearing out my office.

After several hours of huffing and puffing, running up and down stairs, I'd accumulated a big blue bin full of paper (we recycle paper in blue bins where I live) – and the proof is in the photo at the top of the post. It was collected this week, and it was so heavy I could hardly drag it to the side of the road for collection.

Internet Training Courses

I'm afraid to say much of it was Internet Marketing training courses, lovingly printed out – but, it has to be admitted – not as well implemented as they should have been. So they had to go! What training courses have YOU bought, and not implemented?

declutter-booksTHEN – the really serious stuff, I started clearing out old books…. and, as a book-lover, I find that tough. However, the majority of the ones to go have been those from the days when I was a nutritionist, which I haven't pursued for several years now. If I want to know anything health-related these days I tend to Google it, and so do my potential clients, which is one of the reasons I stopped offering the service!

I couldn't bring myself to “bin” all my lovely books, so – while I was still feeling brave – I advertised them free on NextDoor.co.uk, a local community site where we can interact with people in the neighborhood, and ask for recommendations, form groups, publish events – or even give away free books.

Within 24hrs of me placing the advert a very nice lady came to collect them. She's a complementary therapist and loves reading books about health and well-being. So they've gone to a good home.

As for me – I feel SO MUCH better for my decluttering! It's not the end, more the beginning – there's still a big pile of files to be cleared out, but they're confidential papers, so need more careful handling.

However, my “decluttering” has marked a change of attitude in me and a determination to get rid of clutter in my life and in my business so that I can focus better and achieve more.

Favorite Books

Of course, I didn't throw absolutely every book away… I kept some favorites on my shelves. Whether I'll ever get round to reading them again I'm not sure, but they were just too good to throw away.

Which bring me to a coincidence – or is it?

Decluttering over for the day, I went back to read some blog-posts from my favorite bloggers and one that caught my eye was from James McAllister. Regular visitors may remember that I interviewed James on my blog earlier this year. The post on his site that caught my eye was:

5 Incredible Books Every Blogger Needs To Read

So, of course I had to pop over and check them out (and you should too).

Amazingly, the top two of James' top 5 books list are two of only a single shelf's worth of books that were spared from my cull. (On James' recommendation I also bought one of the others on his list, and I already have another one of his list – but that's an eBook.)

Another favorite book of mine that was spared the cull was Stephen Covey's “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People“. I try to practice the seven habits but it's probably time for a re-read, I can't remember if regular de-cluttering was one of them!

It's a great read, and I highly recommend it, and James' top 5 books for bloggers, to you.

Over To You

  • When was the last time you had a good de-clutter? How did it make you feel?
  • And are you feeding your mind with “good stuff”, or just a diet of junk TV?
  • What books have influenced you most of all – as a human being, or as a blogger?

I'd love you to share your thoughts below …..

Please share

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James McAllister - October 17, 2015

Hi Joy!

Wow, it sounds like you’ve been busy!

I have to admit that I’m a bit jealous of whoever managed to get all of those books from you – I have a huge pile of books sitting next to me myself that I need to get through, but I’m always looking to add more to my collection, especially if they’re free!

I’ve heard fantastic things about 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, and that is one of the books I’ve picked up but have yet to read. I’ll have to get to that one soon.

I really appreciate you linking to my article and I’m glad we agreed on so many of the books on the list. I know you’ll find value in the new book you’ve purchased as well.

Talk soon!

    Joy - October 18, 2015

    Hi James,

    It’s been a busy few months – but better busy than bored. No chance of that!

    You’d have been more than welcome to some books – shame you live so far away…. however, it sounds as if you have plenty to be getting your teeth into already. I’m sure you’ll enjoy ythe Steve Covey book, and I look forward to reading the other books you recommended.

    Great to catch up again after the summer, and I know you have great plans for the future.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Joy

Harleena Singh - October 17, 2015

Hi Joy,

Good to be back and over to your blog after a while ๐Ÿ™‚

This is a wonderful topic of discussion and a great reminder for one and all to declutter.

It was during my blogging break that I did a little of that, though still haven’t had the time to go through and read my list of books that I wanted to. They’re all bookmarked and kept aside – yet another to-do list for me!

I’m glad your kids got you started on it though, which otherwise we as parents somehow don’t tend to realize.

Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

    Joy - October 18, 2015

    Hi Harleena,

    So lovely to see you back on my blog after your summer break. I hope it was productive for you.

    Although I kept blogging over the summer I didn’t do much commenting, I wanted to use the time to get certain content onto my blog. That done, it’s back to commenting again and catching up with my favorite blogs.

    This weekend I’ve been looking at incinerators to start on burning those confidential papers – phase 2 of the clear out.

    Just back from a lovely weekend away. Back to work; hope you and Vinay enjoyed your weekend and have a productive week, Joy

vinton samms - October 18, 2015

Hi Joy,
You certainly have been very busy. I am sure you must have got some exercise in between all of this cleaning.

I have many books that were bought but not read including eBooks. When running a business, it is difficult to keep up with the everyday tasks that are necessary and with every good intention in the world, still can’t find the time to read.

If I am researching for a blog post that’s an entirely different matter. I have no choice whether online or hard copy, I have to read something!

7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been recommended to me before and I really must acquire a copy as soon as possible.

Thanks for sharing your life with us. Will share the post.

    Joy - October 18, 2015

    Hi Vinton,

    You’ve brought up another useful side-effect of the clear-out, there was much running up and down stairs and lifting boxes.

    Yes, so many business e-books and courses bought with all the best of intentions, but life – and often the necessity of putting paid work first – gets in the way, and the books go by the way-wide, unless of course researching for a specific reason.

    When you read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people, I’d love to hear what you found the most relevant habit for your bubsiness ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for sharing, Joy

Chery Schmidt - October 18, 2015

Hello Joy, I just spent 10 wonderful days with my parents and everyday I took on one project, Yes DE-Cluttering LOL My mom loved this. Now to find that same energy to take this project on at home HEHE
Loved this post.

Way to take action
Thanks for sharing
Chery :))

    Joy - October 18, 2015

    Hi Chery,

    Glad to hear you’ve also been bitten with the de-cluttering bug – even though it was at your parents’ home.

    Funnily enough, coming back to comments on this pre-scheduled post – because the actual de-cluttering took place about 3 weeks ago – has given me revitalized energy to have another go, and get those private papers burned next.

    Hope you’ll have a go at home – I’m fairly confident you’ll feel much better for it. Let me know ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have a good week, Joy

Kathryn Maclean - October 19, 2015

Hi Joy,
I can relate about son’s who come and tell it like it is. Yes we do miss them when they leave us. I see my son Matt every 4 to 6 mths.
I do vacuum my hard drive regularly, with 4 cats and a dog it’s a necessity.

I did like “โ€œde-clutteringโ€ has marked a change of attitude in me and a determination to get rid of clutter in my life and in my business so that I can focus better and achieve more.” Good for you.

I regularly go through my office and throw things out, usually Sat or Sunday mornings, including dusting, again with the animals. That way things don’tpile up and as it’s a tiny office it doesn’t take long. Good habit to keep up.

Enjoyed your article.

    Joy - October 20, 2015

    Hi Kathryn,

    Ah – my younger son is a Matt too ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m lucky in that I see him fairly often, maybe every 6 weeks; but with Russ living so far away I don’t see much of him.

    I imagine my recent doggy visitors had contributed badly to the PC fluff – I hadn’t really thought of that – bless them.

    Sadly I don’t have a regular routine for clearing out clutter, but I’m going to focus now on not accumulating it instead.

    Thanks for you visit, great to see you here, Joy

Sue Bride - October 19, 2015

It’s so hard getting rid of books. I used to think my kids would read them when they grew up but one’s not interested, another too far away. I moved house 3 years ago and, thinking the new place would be smaller. I packed up masses of stuff, including boxes of books, to get rid of. The new house isn’t smaller and I still have 3 large bookcases with books in double rows. Those I decided not to keep are still in boxes in a storage area under the house.

I recently bought new desks for myself and partner, along with a large chest of drawers. Although it’s now all neat and tidy I often can’t find things. I knew where everything was before.

You’ve motivated me to call up a charity to come and collect all the stored stuff.

    Joy - October 20, 2015

    Hi Sue,

    I remember saving all sorts of things that I thought would be helpful to my sons when they were setting up home. But no – they just went out and bought “new”, not wanting my “cast-offs”. I’m showing my age now, because when I set up home it was quite common to start off with some of the basics from my parents. Never mind – glad they’re in a better financial state than I was at their age ๐Ÿ™‚

    A house-move is a good reason to have a clear out. It’s been at the back of my mind that should I ever decide to down-size it would be nigh on impossible to clear everything out!

    Good luck with your charity shop call, and I hope you now have an empty area where those boxes were.

    Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

Rachit - October 19, 2015

An important point you made here Joy ๐Ÿ™‚

It is always important to keep your workstation clear of obstacles.

Last time I DE-cluttered my stuff it was two weeks ago. I usually do it every month.

Thanks for sharing,


    Joy - October 19, 2015

    Haha Rachit,

    Let’s not get carried away here ๐Ÿ™‚ The day my workstation is clear of clutter will probably be the day they carry me out of my office feet-first!

    Sadly I always seem to be waiting for someone or something, before I can finish any particular task.

    Well done if you;re managing a declutter every month!


Fabrizio Van Marciano - October 19, 2015

Hi Joy,

I bet it feels good to have a good old clean out, and those books will be put to good use no doubt. I love books too though I don’t have many printed ones, mostly Kindle books, over 300 of them, half of them unread.

I love to read when I find the time, but the one book that stands out for me at the moment is ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller, such a eye opening book that hasn’t just influenced me, but helped me achieve so much more in my life and work.

I loved Don Purdums book ‘The Shift’ as well.

At some stage I think I’ll need to de-clutter my office, my filing system is nothing to be admired right now and my other half keeps asking me when am I going to sort it out. Will certainly do it before the new year, always nice to start a brand new year with a clean office right?

Thanks for sharing your story Joy, have a great rest of the week, enjoy your clutter free office ๐Ÿ™‚

    Joy - October 20, 2015

    Hi Fabrizio,

    I love reading too, although I must confess that of late, I’ve mainly been reading for leisure rather than business.

    The Gary Keller book sounds interesting. I already have Don Purdum’s book – you’ve prompted me to have another read of that one.

    Good luck with your own de-clutter – it’s good that your other half is prompting you, otherwise it’s so easy to let things slide – like I had.

    Lovely to see you back on my blog, enjoy the rest of your week.


Lea Bullen - October 21, 2015

Hi Joy,

I hate buying stuff and not using it. Because, like in your case, it just ends up sitting around taking up space and adding to the mess. Now any time I’m about to buy something I’m uncertain of I ask myself am I going to use it and how I’m going to make time for it.

I admit I have a little clutter around now but when it gets to be too much it impacts my productivity in other areas. Like I cannot focusing on working cause I’m thinking about how I should clean up cause it’s kind of stressing me out. I know it’s weird but I noticed the link.

Having no clutter is just all around relaxing. Good for you Joy! I’m sure your son is proud ๐Ÿ™‚


    Joy - October 22, 2015

    Hi Lea,

    I know exactly what you mean about the impact of clutter on all areas of your life.

    Sometimes it’s not even physical clutter, but mental clutter – like a ton of little jobs on my “to-do” list. I try and keep those under control with Google calendar and alarms on my phone.

    Yes, Russ was pleased I’d done it, and Matt too.

    Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

Mark - November 21, 2015

Isn’t funny how emotionally attached we get to stuff we barely use Joy!LOL!

We go out of our way sometimes, to acquire them, then our enthusiasm fades and
we’re off to the next thing.

And then somewhere down the road, we come across it again and we still
can’t get ourselves to part with it, no matter how little we’ve actually
used it!

Even if it’s a digital file, just sitting on hard drive, collecting dust!LOL!

Glad you got to see your son and that he made it home safely!

Thanks for sharing a really nice post!

    Joy - November 22, 2015

    Hi Mark,

    You’re right about that – the annoying thing is, though, when months down the line, you suddenly want to use something (in my instance it was a very nice cocktail glass!) go to get it out of the cupboard and remember you got rid of it in the last declutter. Hmmm.

    Well, the good news is that my son is coming back again for an extended stay over Christmas. Blogging will probably take a bit of a back-seat, but I’ll be popping in and out!

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Joy

Edward Thorpe - December 4, 2015

Hi Joy,

Loved this post!

Probably because you talked about your Sons. And, without bragging (well, almost not;) you let out how proud you are of them. Wonderful!

I had a huge de-cluttering project when I recently moved from Florida to Michigan. Like you, ridding myself of many hallowed books, was the pits. Yet, I kept reminding myself the zenism of possessions slowing down our spiritual growth. Or something like that.

I’ve also read Covey’s books & listened to the recordings mucho times. Been awhile though.

Like music, movies and people, I’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite book. Let’s just say I’ve read the ink off my P.G. Wodehouse…Edward

    Joy - December 5, 2015

    Hi Edward,

    Glad you liked the post – and can relate to the misery of losing all those books, but at the opposite end of it, the relief of seeing empty shelves.

    Russ will be back again in a few days, so hope he approves of the changes. No doubt he’ll be encouraging me to do more clearing out.

    Yep, love them both to pieces and very proud of them.

    I MUST get through the remaining unread books before I get diverted onto others ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have a great weekend. Joy

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