When purging is a very good thing

HumanergyDiscipline ProductivityWhen purging is a very good thing




When purging is a very good thing

Let’s be clear we are talking about stuff – paper, gadgets, broken equipment and the like.

As Humanergy has transitioned from a large office (equivalent to 3-bedroom home with full basement, plus two outbuildings), we are living into the benefits of a simpler, smaller, less cluttered space. As we prepared to move, it was shocking to discover how many things were stuffed into file cabinets, closets and the basement. Instead of dealing with our out-of-date files and dead technology, we’d chuck them in the basement or in the back of a closet. Rather than figuring out if a book was useful, we left it (and its many friends) on our massive bookshelves.

Well, the chickens came home to roost when it was time to move. How many times did we exclaim, “Why?!” when we stumbled across yet another broken or discarded item.

Our new practices will be to keep things simple, never print something that can be retained securely in an electronic format, and deal with our used toners (and other stuff) right away. We’ll continue to recycle when we can, even when it might be easier to toss something in the trash.

The payoff is a sense of freedom, efficiency and a lightness that we didn’t know were missing. For more information on the “benefits of an edited life,” check out this Ted Talk by Graham Hill.

We do know there’s one book we won’t get rid of! Comment below with the name of a teammate, and you may BOTH win a copy of our new book: “What Great Teams Do Great: How Ordinary People Accomplish the Extraordinary.” Contest ends May 27, so comment now with the name of a teammate!

Have an experience with purging you’d like to share? Comment below or leave us a message.


Photo by Julia Joppien on Unsplash


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Comments (9)

  1. In my former life, I was a Professional Organizer helping very small businesses and individuals lighten their load. It is a difficult task to guide people down the path of purging as it can be overwhelming. Each client needed to discover their mantra which when faced with a difficult decision, many times helped them through it. What I learned from my clients is that it is never easy to rid yourself of the “stuff of life.” We attach so much emotion and meaning to our “things” and this makes the job of ridding ourselves of this baggage that much more difficult. I learned to catch myself from attaching the emotion on the front end. This is the only way I find for myself, to keep the clutter from building beyond a point where I can address it logically. There is no one way to purge – it is very individualized. However, once you go through it, remember how difficult it was and remind yourself you are worth the effort on the front end to avoid ending up in that situation again! My teammate I would like to share this with is Alissar Langworthy.

  2. This is so true! I just sent a message to branch employees this morning asking for volunteers to help declutter and get the office organized because I suddenly became aware of unnecessary things collecting in random places. Sometimes we can’t help but see the value in items so we keep them with good intentions. But, the truth is, there is only so much time in a day and when you’re focused on living in the moment (which is good!) you have little time for projects unless they are thoughtfully planned. I know my co-worker Heather Luciani would agree! – Her favorite pastime is organizing closets 🙂

    Having too many things with potential and not enough time can be paralyzing, overwhelming and lead to feeling guilty. My husband and I just cleaned out my parent’s old barn on their farm. It had 35 years of “stuff” in it! So far, we’ve filled two industrial size dumpsters. It started with Dad needing to tell us why he had kept each thing (which did not speed up the process) but eventually, when he started seeing progress being made, he stopped micro-managing, started trusting and you could see the relief in his demeanor. He was more energized, happier and best of all, proud.

    There truly is beauty in simplicity!

    1. Corrie, thanks! I take it you and Heather are the teammates in the book contest. If not correct, let us know! Good luck!

  3. Gretchen Ruben’s book called “The Happiness Project” is about her year long project to try to purposefully amplify her happiness. In her first month she focused on raising her energy level…this included “decluttering. This process of tossing and reorganizing things had a big impact on “happiness” for many of the same reasons discussed in the Ted Talk by Graham and in this book. It is an interesting read.

  4. I love to purge and must do it annually. I also do my best to be efficient in the way I store items.

    Layna Monk

    1. Delesha, thanks for your comment. I’m assuming Layna is your teammate. You’ll both be entered to win a copy of What Great Teams Do Great.”

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