Eliminate Stuff by Eliminating Surfaces
In addition to abhorring vacuums, nature seems to abhor clear surfaces. If you don’t believe us, make a clear surface–table, desk, countertop, or even inside a drawer or closet–and see how long it takes for it to get cluttered up with all varieties of stuff: unopened mail, brochures, dog leashes, pencil sharpeners, etc. Clear surfaces provide unstructured, hook-free, often-vertically-unlimited storage. Don’t know where to put something, cram or stack it on that table.
But because they’re so flexible and convenient, clear surfaces tend to be magnets for stuff we don’t need, use or even want. They are especially useful for holding stuff we don’t want to deal with. Why do you think people “table” issues?
RAM or Hard Drive Surface?
If you want to live in an uncluttered home, it’s best to treat your surfaces in one of two ways. One is RAM (random access memory) for your stuff. These are the open surfaces like desks, dining, kitchen and coffee tables. Like a computer’s RAM, these surfaces should store the stuff that needs to be accessed or dealt with immediately–the bill we’re about to pay, the phone we’re about to use, the cup we’re drinking from. When done with use, they will be removed.
The other type of surface is our stuff’s hard drive. Closet and desk interiors, drawers, some desk surfaces, etc. These are surfaces that are assigned specific stuff that will be accessed in an ongoing basis.
If you are looking to de-clutter and simplify your home, try removing a surface or two–one less end table, even one less dresser. Without easy places to deposit and indefinitely store stuff, we often find ourselves compelled to deal with it (or toss it on the floor).