Once upon a time I worked for Larry Wells at Creative Strategies. He was president and founder. He was good to work for, a smart person, a fair and honest boss. I’ve fallen out of contact.
In the last two weeks I’ve aggressively cleared the clutter from my two main workspaces, my office at Palo Alto Software and my office at home. It was hard for me to do, but I was really longing for the great relief of cleared clutter. I took big boxes and emptied everything but the computers and their cables and speakers and monitors into them. All the drawers, shelves, and open desk spaces were cleared into boxes. Then, slowly, I replaced what I really needed, and threw out the rest.
Which reminded me of Larry’s strategy to solve the same problem. Every six months or so he would have somebody clear out all the surfaces in his office and pack them into cardboard boxes, which were sealed, dated, and stored with large labels indicating the date. In between those anti-clutter orgies he would just leave everything piling up.
When he needed something that had been boxed and stored, he would guess the timeframe and have the boxes brought back temporarily, and he’d search them.
I think that worked for him.
And one final note: I’m tempted to become a clutter bigot, a reformed pack rat, but for two worries: first, I’ll look like a real idiot when I get project oriented again and clutter up (far too likely, although I’m dead set against it); and second, I don’t want to get into the pattern behavior of the reformed smoker.