Friday, March 23, 2012

Exit Strategy Lesson 1: Declutter

How did I manage to quit my job, fling myself to foreign lands, and find love in Paris?

Good question. And in my Exit Strategy series, I'm going to tell you how I did it. Oh yes I am. You're welcome.

Today's first lesson, boys and girls, is about decluttering. Chucking, sorting and deleting somehow pushes us faster toward our new lives. I'm not sure how this magic works, but it's one of those strange mysteries of the universe. Like gravity and Fluff.


Perhaps letting go of the old invites the new. Or perhaps sweeping away the nest of papers leads to a clearer mind. And when we have a clearer mind, insight from God-knows-where (exactly), can pop into our noggins more easily. That's why we say things like, "Why didn't I think of this before?" Because we were thinking, "Sheesh, I've got 14,000 emails in my inbox. That's not a good thing."

And yet, we put off editing the inbox because we're too busy harvesting the crop of emails that grows in said inbox overnight. 

Recently (an hour ago), I did a clean sweep of my inbox and got those 14,000 emails down to 4,000. Not bad. I will be whittling it further over the next few days. It was an interesting trip down memory lane. Except this time I was wielding a machete named Delete.

Did I need the Twitter emails from two years ago telling me who was following me? Lurkers.

Or the Yahoo Group Digests from before Facebook became MegaMegopolis?

Or the notification from Skype telling me I had a new voice mail? I got the message.

Should I have sponsored you for a run you did two years ago? Ya, I finally opened it. Oops. Sorry you didn't meet your goal.

Or the fifteen back and forth emails about making plans for dinner (two years ago). We should have just accepted we weren't that into each other.

Library notification that my Rick Steve's Europe and Learning Italian DVDs were due. And that Vegan cookbook... hahahahaha! I won't be needing that now that I live with a butcher.

Any and all emails from Seth Godin, who gets my blood boiling. Look Seth, I know what you're saying about ebook publishing. I get it. But why do you always give the e-finger to traditional publishers?

Light requests. Done.

Air Canada Websaver emails. I'm an Air France girl now.

Anything from Google +.

Facebook birthday wishes from three years ago for a great year ahead. Who would have known that year would get worse before it got worse. Thanks anyway.

You liked my link? That's nice. It was nice, wasn't it.

LinkedIn pending requests. Ya ya. For about a year I forgot my password. You know how it goes.

Status Notification Failure... and I thought you were lying about not getting my email.

Yes, Netflix. My Modern Family disc arrived, I mailed Summer of Love 437 days ago. And thanks for letting me know that you received Semi-Pro.

Sure Oprah, I'd love to watch your Lifeclass, but I France won't let me. They are not so much into spiritual advancement. They're more into maintaining the status quo. Whaddayagonnado?

Do people use Evite anymore?

I kept all my poems from Bentlily

And posts from Parcel Post.

But the Borders Rewards emails had to go.

And the back and forth emails from that guy on Craigslist who never did come to pick up the TV.

After I deleted my iTunes Purchase Confirmation emails, I wondered why Amazon Purchase Confirmation emails were nowhere to be found. A short Sherlock moment revealed that my emails were going to my old work address. Boy oh boy those IT guys must have LOVED seeing THOSE titles. Can't call me into HR from Paris, though. Jokes on you!

Clear out the fluff. I double dog dare you. What could happen?


  1. You have once again inspired me. If this creates room in my love for a gorgeous French man I will start cleaning immediately!

  2. I am a serial deleter of emails. My email inbox is usually one page...ten or less emails. The junk mail folder is emptied once a day. I'm the same way at work. I delete the previous months' emails and I save practically nothing at work too. My filing cabinets are empty.

    There are two reasons for this. One: I got laid off once and have changed offices five times in five years. I have learned to travel light. And two: I noticed in those moves that I never once used any of the stuff I filed. Once a job is done, I'm never going to look at it or need it again.

    See ya.

    Wouldn't want to be ya!

  3. yup!! you gave me the boost I needed to de-clutter my inbox!!
    Great post! Thank you!

  4. I'm pretty good at cleaning out my emails. And I did just yank 3 sweaters out of the closet to give to Goodwill. But the scrapbooks...still struggling with that one...


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