For over 35 years, my passion has been helping people accomplish their work and enjoy their lives by eliminating clutter. Research shows that 80% of what we keep we never use, and the more we keep the less we use. Ironically, many people are unable to accomplish their work or enjoy their lives because of the clutter, while much of the world does not have the basic necessities of life, which in many instances, could be solved by the clutter of other people’s lives.
For the first 20 years of my business, I focused on paper and physical clutter — which I wrote about in my first book Taming the Paper Tiger in 1988. With the advance of the internet, I wrote Taming the Paper Tiger at Work which included the additional organizing challenges of digital clutter. In recent years, I’ve come to the conclusion that the true clutter which prevents people from accomplishing their work and enjoying their lives is emotional and spiritual clutter. It is my belief that God put each of us on this earth for a specific purpose. Unresolved issues cloud our ability to carry out our purpose, and become emotional clutter. Lack of clarity about our purpose can cause us to sumble through life and collect spiritual clutter.
As I sat in a therapist’s office after the collapse of my first marriage, she asked, “What do you want? You have a clean slate.” I answered, “I have no idea.” She replied, “Let’s start with what you don’t want.” Identifying what I didn’t want clarified what I did want. That realization changed my life, and impacted the way I built Productive Environment Institute, and the way we help individuals and organizations today.
Our lives are a puzzle, but unlike a puzzle that you and I might put together in which we would complete the edges first, only God has the frame for our lives. Every experience that we have is a piece in that puzzle, though we do not fully understand the depth and breadth of it during our lifetime.
One of the items on my “bucket list” was to write a book with the timeless principles that have evolved through my work beginning with “Clutter is postponed decisions®” and ending with “Together we are better.” While I like the other books I have written, I love Less Clutter More Life™ — and if I die tomorrow, I feel I have accomplished what I was put on this earth to do. (Having said that, my goal is to give a speech when I am 100, so I have no plans to stop yet!) I feel so blessed that my dear friend and colleague Louise Wannier was willing to collaborate with me to make this dream of mine a reality. I literally cried when I saw the photographs she chose to compliment my words.
Less Clutter More Life™ is not a “how to” book — it is a “why to” book. The words in it will be just as true 100 years from today as they are today. It is designed to encourage you to acknowledge your deepest feelings so you can accomplish your work and enjoy your life. Focus on the path, not a destination.