I find it interesting the amount of general crud we collect during our lives. Actually, its rather substantial. We fill up rooms, closets, attics, basements, and garages with a lot of debris, most of which could be disposed of, but we keep it primarily for three reasons: because you never know when someone might need it (which is rare, if ever), it has sentimental value, or we just plain forget about it. This happens both at our homes and at the workplace. At the office though we tend to shove crud in and on desks, put it on the wall, or pile it in the corner.

This brings up an important point: crud is magnetic. The moment we decide to save something, more of the same is collected and stored with it. Business cards are a perfect example of this. People like to exchange business cards as part of introductions or to hawk their products or services. Have you ever noticed that the number of business cards you save never decreases? We’re afraid we’ll need a person’s number some day, so we tend to keep everything. Rarely do we sort through them and file them properly (or encode their contents to an address book). In fact, if you were to go through the stack of business cards you have in your desk, at least 50% could be thrown away. Go ahead, try it.

There is a lot of flotsam and jetsam we like to collect other than business cards though. As a computer man I tend to look at inputs, outputs, and files. For everything my family brings into the house, I am looking for what goes out in the garbage. If there isn’t that much trash, I know the crud magnets are at work. This is why it is important now and then to do a little spring cleaning, whereby you purge the crud you have been collecting. If it is something that is truly worth keeping, file it properly. If not, dispose of it as quickly as possible before more crud collects with it.

Consider this, at some point everything in your house will end up being thrown away. Even if you pass something down to your heirs, someone will eventually say, “Why on Earth are we keeping this crud?” and will throw it away. If you have ever had to cleanup after a departed loved one, you know exactly what I mean. You go through all their momentos and keepsakes, which were precious to them, but you scratch your head and ask, “What in the hell did they want this for?”

If you look around your neighborhood and consider that everything must ultimately end up in the garbage dump, you’ve got to ask how and where we are going to dispose of everything. The enormity of the crud we collect is truly mind boggling. So much so, that it makes a Pack Rat look like it’s lazy.

Try to remember this as the holiday season approaches and you’re about to be hit with a new wave of crud.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He can be reached at [email protected]

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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