Honoring The Urge to Purge the Reading Pile

I’m sometimes amused at the way I go about clearing my own clutter. Today on my way through the family room to go walk the dogs I happened to pause in front of my reading pile. I don’t know how I got there or what drew me to it. There I was. 

When I teach organizing classes I always recommend that reading be kept near the place where you read. Since I try to practice what I preach, I have a pile of newsletters and magazines beside my side of the sofa that keeps growing and growing. Now, you may be picturing a foot high pile, like yours or your mother’s pile. Mine was only about two inches high. I have a pretty low tolerance for static stuff like an unread reading pile.

Anyway, I’m not sure what possessed me, but I found myself saying to myself, “This is ridiculous! You’re not going to read this stuff! Let’s just get rid of it!” Like many of you I couldn’t just pick it up and toss it in the trash. Looking through it activated its energy and my interest in the content. So, instead of just pitching I settled for sorting the pile.

The categories were:

  • recycle, 
  • thumb through while watching TV, 
  • read right away for fun or for pertinent health information,
  • take to the car to read during breaks and 
  • file.

As you can see, I didn’t really get rid of the pile completely. I just stopped it from annoying me every time I looked at it. Once I sorted it I moved the different piles to their new locations.

  • The filing went to my home office. By the way, filing papers are those I might refer to at a later date, but I don’t need to read right now.
  • The thumb through and health information to read went on a different table directly in front of me when I sit on the sofa. I’m trying the “in your face” approach with those papers because I really do want to read them. 
  • Speaker magazines that will be read in the car (hopefully!) went to the table where I keep my purse. 
  • And, the recycle papers were pitched in the handy recycling bag I keep in the dining room. 


Now the challenge is to make time to read the things I still really want to read. I am more likely to read some of those things now because I broke them out of the unappealing static pile. In that dead pile their energy was silenced by the press of the pile. Now that they’re free and more visible there’s a much better chance I’ll see them and be inspired to pause and read them. If after a month they’re still hanging around, out they go!  

What can you reconfigure so that you’ll be more likely to take an action you want to take? Start with a sort and purge and then a strategic relocation. Finally, give yourself a deadline to take action. The real challenge is to honor the deadline! You can do it! Consider it a gift to yourself! You’re lightening up so you can really fly!

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