In theory, I have a filing system. In practice, stuff tends to pile up. Especially in the region of my desk. Receipts for things that I no longer remember buying. An opened package of D batteries. A printed-out copy of the Pachelbel Canon, transcribed for cello.

None of this stuff is urgent enough to require attention. (The bills go in a very definite place. They never get lost in the stack.) The problem is, after six months or a year has passed, I’m surrounded by clutter. Clutter causes a psychic drain. It’s distracting, but at a subliminal level.

Dealing with the clutter is a chore, because it means making dozens of choices about where to put things. I have many well-organized stacks of sheet music, for instance, but there’s not a stack where a copy of the Pachelbel Canon would naturally belong. So where do I put it?

Near the bottom of the stack, I found a short story I wrote six months ago, that I’d forgotten all about. You’d think I’d have a file for short stories in the filing cabinet, wouldn’t you? Ha. All that stuff is on the hard drive. But this printout has some scribbled edits on it, so I can’t just throw it away. I have to deal with it. Most likely, I’ll put it back on the table and start a new stack. Where it will soon get buried again.

I’m starting to see advantages in the hunter/gatherer lifestyle. Imagine no possessions. Imagine no need to keep receipts. Imagine no need to dust.

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