Clear the stuff to clear your mind

Nancy Cramer


Has your office turned into a storage closet? If so, consider this…


When you go into a well-run museum and approach a display case, you can quickly discern the relevance of the items on display. Artifacts are grouped according to type and have little cards that explain their historic or artistic significance.


Museums have far more items in storage than on display. After carefully cataloguing and storing, Curators cull through the collection to discern the most important items. They sort for what is truly indicative of the theme they want to represent, for example a pivotal moment in time or the development of a new school of thought. These items are then organized and artfully displayed in a way that tells a story.


Curating the collection is a vital discipline to keep worthless stuff from hiding important artifacts.


Curating is an expensive and tedious task. The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, for example, allocated over $625,000 in 2007 to organize Warhol’s 610 Time Capsules, boxes in which the notorious accumulator (aka. hoarder) tossed everyday items. The process is still ongoing years later.


That is a large sum of money and a great deal of time spent curating. And, unless the items are curated, it is just boxes full of stuff.


Ask yourself:

  • Are you accumulating stuff or are you curating your collection?

  • Can you afford to curate? If so, what is the theme of your collection? What story are you telling?

  • Is this the best and highest use for the space both inside your room and inside your head?

  • What else will you accomplish when you free up the time and space? What are the possibilities?

When you consider the hidden costs of accumulating stuff and curating it into a collection, it is easier to release the emotional attachment.


Don’t accumulate stuff. Curate a collection. Let the rest go.