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Chapter 8. Lightening Your Load > Getting Rid of Stuff - Pg. 83

Lightening Your Load 83 Why was I keeping them? When I forced myself to give an honest answer to that question, I realized it was because I wanted part of my identity to be "world traveler," someone who can navigate an Arabian souk as comfortably as the New Jersey Turn-pike. Never mind that my biggest travel de- cisions these days are more like whether to go to the farther away grocery store with the better buy on baby wipes or to save gas and time and buy the more expensive ones at the corner market. Think about the things you might be keeping around because you like what they say about you. Then think about the inconvenience, if any, that they're causing. Do they take up space you could use for something else? Do you have to dust around them? Do you waste time sorting through them to get to what you need? Are they necessary to have on hand? Solution:You are not your stuff. Your identity comes from what you do, not what you have on your bookshelves or on the walls of your office. There's no harm in keeping a few things around that tell the world "This is what I like and what's important to me." If we didn't, we'd be boring people living and working in boring surroundings. But when you could use the space for other purposes, it might be time to weed out your collections. I didn't part with all my maps, but I got rid of many that seemed superfluous. Now instead of having nearly an entire file cabinet drawer stuffed with maps, I keep one small file box designated for maps on my home office bookcase. In it are eight hanging file folders representing various regions of the United States and the world with the appropriate maps in each. One of the hanging files is just for New York tri-state area maps, so I can quickly access the ones I need most often. Getting Rid of Stuff You know what you've been accumulating too much of and why you've done it. Now you have to get rid of it. Yes, you really have to. Throughout later chapters of this book, you'll find specific tips