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Thoreau It Out

ThoreaucabinIt's been interesting around our house this summer.  My wife, the English teacher, began her break by asking where her annotated copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, was located.  I didn't know and hadn't remembered seeing it in ages.

I've suspected this since we were first married, but I believe my wife to be part bloodhound.  This summer provided further evidence as she began systematically going through the house room by room hunting for her beloved and much needed book.  However, rather than simply searching, she began ridding and organizing.  Garbage bag after garbage bag was filled and disposed... boxes upon boxes of stuff were donated to charity... our neighbors are soon holding a garage sale, of which we are key donors.  And you know what?  It's felt pretty darn good to get rid of stuff.  As we were reaching for the last box on the final shelf of the store room, what should be at the bottom of the box?  That's right... the annotated copy of Walden.

The really humorous and ironic part of our summer break exercise is that Thoreau and his peer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, were both proponents of keeping things simple, of ridding unnecessary junk.  I think Thoreau must have been speaking to us from beyond the grave, and I'm not about to argue with a transcendentalist ghost.  I challenged my Iowa Biz readers to de-clutter their projects a few weeks ago.  But it's more than just streamlining your projects... or cleaning a store room... it's about simplifying your life.  It seems that we've become a society that is ruled by stuff.  Granted, there are certain objects I enjoy and I use regularly around the house, but those things tucked away in crevices and boxes that are there as some kind of security blanket... well, my wife and I have made a pact to simplify, reduce, recycle, eliminate, and downsize.

What about you?  What can you get rid of?  What can you throw out?  How would it feel if you had less "stuff" to think about?


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April Groves

Oh - that must be so nice...I am horrible at this "organizing" concept you speak of...are you sure it's even english?

Really, this is a sore spot on my journey to complete happiness...and it always ends up at, "Maybe tomorrow I'll..."

Timothy Johnson

April - I prefer organization to chaos... however, it does sometimes get lost in all of the other time commitments. I'm sure you probably have to have this difficult discussion with your real estate clients: cluttered houses do not sell. I'm just thankful that we had the time this summer (and we're committed to carrying it into the fall) to get rid of the unnecessary junk bogging down our lives.

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