Editor's Note

Decluttering in the New Year

Rob Brough Jan 9, 2019

“When you have finished putting your house [office] in order, your life will change dramatically. Once you have experienced what it’s like to have a truly ordered house [office], you’ll feel your whole world brighten … the effects are stupendous. Not only will you never be messy again, but you’ll also get a new start on life.”

These words introduce “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” Marie Kondo’s New York Times bestselling book that was gifted to me by my way-too-organized friend.

When I received the book, I didn’t know whether to be appreciative or offended. After all, I have always considered myself to be a rather neat and orderly person.

For much of my life, I was certain that the expression “cleanliness is next to godliness” was included in the Sermon on the Mount recorded in the biblical New Testament Gospel of Matthew.

While I now know the Bible never specifically addresses cleanliness being next to godliness, I am still a big fan of the practice. The proverb is properly credited to a sermon given by John Wesley in 1778, as well as to writings in the Jewish Talmud.

I am actually famous in our home for constantly cleaning.

It is not out of the ordinary for me to remove a jar of pickles from the kitchen counter and return it to the refrigerator before my wife has had time to put a pickle on her ham sandwich.

I do the dishes after every meal. I vacuum and dust the house the day before our cleaning service comes every two weeks. I put the throw pillows back on our bed at 10 p.m. even if we are going to bed in 15 minutes.

I can’t help it, I like my surroundings to be clean.

Inexplicably, however, this fixation with tidiness at home does not necessarily transfer to my office. It’s not as though my office is a disorderly mess, but anyone who has visited me at work knows there is not a lot of windowsill or shelf space available. Although each of the items filling those places has meaning and purpose, I can’t deny that there are a lot of them. And you don’t want to look underneath my desk where there is a veritable museum of “important” items.

Clearly, it’s time for me to have a life-changing experience at work.

In this issue of Community, Farrah Lamoreaux explores six tips from two popular books (including Kondo’s) on decluttering.

Kondo’s book ends with these words: “Life truly begins after you have put your house [office] in order.”

I can’t wait for my new life to begin in the New Year.

Rob Brough
Executive Vice President
Corporate Marketinging and Communications

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