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Take the Time to Purge

The following post is from Lisa of Working Naked:

source: Rita H Cobbs

I’d love to invest in a storage facility. You know, the ones where people pay $120 a month to store $50 worth of stuff.

I know it’s hard to get rid of things, especially if you’ve had them for a long time.

My cousin used to have a basement loaded with boxes that she’d had almost her whole life. A few years ago, her basement flooded and she had to get rid of everything. Last year she finally admitted that she was relieved about the flood. If it hadn’t happened, she still would have had a basement full of boxes she didn’t need to keep.

You don’t have to wait for a disaster to clear out your office (or maybe even your garage). Consider these questions to help you take the plunge and purge.

Are you using out-of-date equipment?

Figure out what your time is worth, and whether or not you can afford to waste time each day using unproductive equipment. In other words, stop being cheap, step up to the plate and buy a new computer. If your desktop is close to dying, consider whether you should invest in a laptop instead. You’ll be able to take the laptop with you when you travel, work from a coffee shop, or meet with clients.

Are you struggling with outdated software?

If a computer program is too complicated or has more features than you need, buy a different one. Your colleagues or even your neighbor may use a certain program that works perfectly for him or her. That doesn’t mean the same program will work for you. Before you invest in new software, try it out first. Most websites offer a trial period. Keep in mind that technology is supposed to help you save time, not make you waste time.

Can you avoid information overload?

Fight the urge to keep every magazine or newspaper you’ve ever received. If you know that you’ll never read something, get rid of it. If you ever need an article from a past issue, it’s probably available online. The same advice is true with e-mail newsletters. Before you sign up to receive an online newsletter, decide whether you’ll have time to read yet another one. Once or twice a year, look through your list of e-mail newsletters and unsubscribe from at least half of them.

Are you facing your fear of purging?

Some people are afraid that the minute they throw or give something away, they’ll need it again. The reality is that when you need something, you may not be able to find it. Consider this: if you own something, but you can’t find it, it’s of no use to you.

De-clutter your home office by peeling away each layer. Start with information and items you haven’t used in a year. Then move on to items you could store in your garage, basement or attic. The other option, of course, is to donate the items you don’t use.

Your home office probably looks a bit different now than when you first started working from home. When you take the time to declutter your office, you’ll save time, money (by not buying duplicate supplies), and your sanity.

What has motivated you to clear out your home office?

Home office expert Lisa Kanarek is the founder of and the author of five books about working from home, including Organize Your Home Office For Success. Lisa works with entrepreneurs and home-based employees through seminars and individual consultations, to create functional home offices that meet each individual’s working style.