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HOME::Goal Setting

Top 7 Questions to Help You Get Rid of Stuff

By Sue Brenner

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Do you have boxes jam-packed with stuff in your office? Is it hard to tell what you need to keep and what you need to pitch? Answer these 7 questions to help you know what needs to go.

  1. Do I use it?

    Go ahead. Peek inside of one of your storage boxes. What’s inside? Do you use any of the items? Unless an item has special meaning to you, if you don’t use it—and don’t need to store it for seasonal events—it needs to go.

  2. When is the last time I used it?

    You pull out a one-pound paperweight a former boss gave you in 1985. There’s no draft in your office—not a chance of papers blowing about. You haven’t used it since… Well, come to think of it, you’ve never used it. Time to say “good-bye.” (Note: If you haven’ t used something in a year, consider letting it go.)

  3. Do I need it?

    Don’t worry. You don’t have to give everything in the box to your favorite charity. When you examine your stuff, think about which things you actually need. Did you find a sleeping bag bunched up in your office closet? Great. Store it in your garage for the next time you go camping.

  4. Does it make me more productive?

    Scan the things on your desk. They should all be things you need to be able to grab in a flash to increase your productivity. You don’t want to spend 10 minutes running around your office looking for your cell phone. But get rid of anything that doesn’t lead to greater productivity. Like that pocket calculator you never use.

  5. Do I have more than one of this item?

    Do you have three sets of stackable in-and-out boxes crammed in a corner? Are there two extra file cabinets that remain empty? If these items aren’t necessities—such as pens—pare down how many you own. If you bought four organizer containers for your last round of office cleaning but they’re just collecting dust, pass them on to someone who will use them.

  6. Does it bring me joy?

    Do you have a vase on your window ledge that you love to put tulips in during the spring? Keep it! Do the framed photos of ocean sunsets on the walls brighten your days? Hang on to them. But keep looking around your office. You may also find things that don’t bring you joy. How about that espresso-brown push-button phone with the 10-foot cord that you inherited from the last occupant? Put it in the charity bin.

  7. Is this information available on the Internet?

    Are there articles and papers spilling out of your file cabinets? Are you scared to get rid of a piece of information because you might need it “someday”? Check to see if the information you want to keep is easily accessible online. For example, at a career conference, you picked up an article, “Top 7 Tips to Leap Beyond Fear of Success,” that you want to read some day. You discover it’s readily available on the Internet, so you recycle the paper copy.

Sue Brenner, PCC, PMP, Performance Coach and Author, wants you to get the most out of life and work. With fun, easy systems, Sue sparks people to ignite their potential. Since 1997, Sue has worked with Fortune 500 companies, top-notch small businesses and professionals to overcome obstacles. She serves as the CEO of the thriving coaching business Action Symphony and still loves to coach successful individuals and groups to reach the next level of success and beyond. Get the full story on Sue’s coaching and books at her website. While you're there, get her free monthly eZine, “Ignite Your Life!” To help professionals thrive at work, Sue wrote “The Naked Desk: Everything you need to strip away clutter, save time & get things done” and “How to Set Goals that Stick” ( “The Naked Desk” shows you how to move past roadblocks—clutter, disorder, unproductive busy-ness, and procrastination. It offers what you need to stop struggling and start flourishing. “How to Set Goals that Stick,” gives you quick steps to uncover what matters most to you. From there, Sue shows you exactly how to set 5-year and 1-year goals that get you out of bed in the morning. The results? Setting exciting goals that you actually stick to and bring alive in your life. As your goals come to life, enjoy deeper satisfaction at work and at home.


Article Submitted On: March 08, 2007