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May 11, 2005


I am a self confessed hoarder. If I see people crying on "The Life Laundry" TV program when that horrible woman makes them throw away all their junk, I feel genuinely sorry for them. That could so easily be me.

Reading The Daily Telegraph the other day I came across a piece about Dawna Walter's new venture - DeJunk Your Mind: .
She has moved on from throwing out just 'things', and is getting to the mental root of the problem. Dejunking is like giving up smoking - I think most people fail because they really aren't committed to it. To really remove the junk from your life you must be committed to it mentally - otherwise it will all come back.

Following on from this, I had a minor Road To Damascus moment last night which has allowed me to see what I must do.

I've got to decide what I want to keep, and get rid of the rest.

Sounds simple. Sounds like a no brainer. But this is what has been stopping me. I keep everything - just in case it might come in useful. I have 4 PCI computer network cards. I've had them in a drawer in my bedroom for about 5 years. I am never going to use them. If by some weird combination of circumstances I find myself wanting one in the future, I can get a nice new faster one from dabs.com for less than £20. My house is pretty much all wireless network anyway so I think I'm onto a winner with this.

I'm going to make a list of everything I have, with a column indicating whether I need it. If I decide I don't need it, then it's going to have to go. This is going to be especially difficult with paperwork. I have kept everything. I have every credit card statement since 1983; every airline ticket and boarding pass, I can tell you what seat I sat in on every flight I've ever made. Just how useful is that information! Cinema ticket stubs; letters from the council, the water board; every piece of paper my children have brought home from school. I made a big step last year and destroyed a huge pile of credit card receipts for restaurants and petrol; I kept the rest of course, but do I need receipts for household appliances that are now in a landfill somewhere?

In my head it's too difficult to make snap decisions on the paperwork, I always err on the side of caution - I need a real plan. I have a friend who burns nearly every financial record that is over seven years old. The tax man can't go back that far, the banks do a similar thing I think. Could I do that? No, probably not. But if I could make a list of the ones to keep and the ones to definitely get rid of, then the uncertainty would go away - it's the uncertainty I can't handle :-)

Watch this space.

Posted by se71 at May 11, 2005 10:25 AM

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