Dream and Hustle

My Aspirational Decluttering Experience

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

I decided to take a break from the entrepreneurial ventures and other digital task to focus on decluttering my house and making it a clear space. The reason why is during quarantine, I just had so much stuff laying all over the place. I had things in plastic bins all stacked up and stuff piled up in the corner and things filling up my closet. It was time to get this house clear so my mind would be clear.

That was the problem – my mind wasn’t clear. As I’m working on something at home I would look over and see a pile of stuff I’m not using but wanted to use later on. I also found a lot of redundant stuff like I had 3-4 Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras – why? I would have piles of tablets like most people have piles of books and the same goes for laptops and turned off desktops that were servers. And I had too many TVs as well. All this stuff was sitting around and it was a distraction to work and look up and see these things and my mind wanders off.

When I started decluttering, the first step was to disrupt everything from their space and move it into the living room as a sorting pile. The plastic storage bin buckets from Wal-Mart (I should lie and say Target to be more hipster/stuck up but I really got them from Wal-Mart) I turned them into sorting boxes. The boxes were labeled “Keep”, “Sell” and “Dispose” and I did the Marie Kondo thing of determine what is the value of each item to me here and now.

I kept only the items that are relevant to me now – that was all of my primary items I use everyday or very frequently. Other stuff, if it was useful but I’m not using, I hard-core had to put it in the sell bin and items that I cannot reasonably sell no longer found relevant was put in the dispose bin. What happened is I decided not to sell anything, just called my son and asked if he wanted it and took the other stuff to Goodwill. The reason why I didn’t want to sell is because I don’t feel like going through the online classified ad option or eBay over some small stuff – just annoying having people asking nagging questions or trying to haggle when you list something. I threw away a lot of good stuff over selling because I just didn’t want to bother.

The dispose stuff was put in black bags and simply tossed. The electronics like tablets and old tech, I drove to an electronic recycling firm and let them handle it. I once gave them a plasma TV I wouldn’t let go of because it works but that plasma TV was very heavy and also get hot enough to heat the room. But I had one major problem and a stuck point that took days – the aspirational clutter.

The aspiration clutter was things I bought for the future version of me using these items. These items were trade show display so I can demonstrate my company – COVID-19 killed that prospect. I also had a lot of podcast microphones that I bought where the next one was better than the last one. The same with computers, I bought better spec computers and just kept the old ones thinking I was going to create some super-network in my house to run blockchain or data streaming proof of concepts. I kept thinking about these things in my head as to how I’m going to use them and that when I had to make a hard call.

That hard call is a decluttered home with just the minimal is better than keeping around any aspirational item. So what I had to do was put all of the aspirational stuff in a black garbage bag and once I did that – I lost that aspirational vibe and my mind was focused back on the main mission mode I’m working on now. I didn’t miss anything about the aspirational stuff – actually I felt relieved and better as if the aspiration stuff was a burden to me to work on them.

Another thing I did – I got rid of every plastic bin in my house and threw them out. They were ugly and unsightly. What I replaced the plastic bins with was those storage baskets from TJ Maxx or Marshalls to give my home a more organic look and it worked out extremely well. Now when it came to sorting, I decided to look at everything I left behind and see if there is a theme of what I was collecting and cluttering for.

The major themes I was collecting was throwing a conference, creating physical e-commerce proof of concepts, travel equipment to go worldwide and creating audio/visual materials for podcasts and video streaming. This was a good observation because I didn’t realize this is what I been buying these things for and as a result, I started sorting items around my themes and kept only the need items. I had about 4-5 tripods and I only needed 3. I had bulb-based lights that I threw in the trash because I had two LED lighting systems. I had barcode scanners that I had several versions of – only needed 3 of them and threw the rest away – it was hard but it freed me up once I did that throw away did and never looked back. I threw away or gave away a lot of stuff that was cool to own but I wasn’t using it or need it.

This activity took about a tough week to make tough calls to get rid of stuff. I have removed over 80% of the items I purchased that became aspirational clutter and now have a cleaner, more empty home to have space to focus only on the mission I have now. That mission is to get the startup up and running. The money I made from some of the selling allowed me to get better upgraded equipment that serves my core focus – that is the biggest gain I got out of this.

This is why I was out of pocket for a week, focusing on cleaning up my house so I can truly focus on the mission at hand. Also, I want to be flexible with the problem economy at hand where I pack the minimal things and move out somewhere else if I have to. That is what you should be doing right now with this economy going in a downward direction – have to be agile to get up and make moves. If I want to move to the UK or Japan or Singapore or Colombia, it just a matter of grabbing a few things and go without burden.

That is where I’m almost at now with just a few things to move from one area to another – I’m now able to concentrate on my work, able to look around and see nothing but space in my house where it used to be a lot of cluttered item and when I go into my bedroom, just a bed and space to lay down and have somewhere to just relax. I do not miss any of the aspirational stuff because I’m now using all of the equipment right now to have me work on what I need to work on right now. 

Contributor

Ed Dunn

From Chicago West Side to Worldwide