Johnson Cook

Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Johnson Cook - Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Discover the Joy of Less Clutter


Perhaps it’s a symptom of getting older. Or maybe it’s the amount of Legos in my house. Or perhaps it’s working in an open floor plan, high density office in Atlanta Tech Village  Or maybe it has something to do with my new attention on better focus and being intentional. Whatever it is, my patience with and for clutter has evaporated.

I don’t mean anything philosophical here like mental clutter or relationship clutter. I’m just talking about crap. Junk. Stuff.  CLUTTER!  I want to address all physical space around me with this clutterless goal, so I’m having a great time being on a clutter cleanse.

Some thoughts and observations.

  • Your desk at home and work.   Seriously, it’s time to ask: how many pens do you really need?  If you run out, don’t you know where to get them?   Just because you brought home 20 “new” ones from every tradeshow, doesn’t mean you keep them. Donate them or trash them.  You don’t even use pens any more. I didn’t use a pen to write this blog to you and you won’t use a pen to forward it to your wife telling her you are ready to clean out your desk at home this weekend.
  • Files and paperwork.   My goal now on paperwork is to only keep the absolute legal minimums. I’m not sure I even need to store my paper tax returns, since I all have them stored (with redundancy) in the cloud, but I still have them.  Old bills, receipts, credit card statements.  I’m working to make those go away also.
  • Your car.  Tony Tseih, the CEO of Zappos talks about how when they interview new job applicants, someone hangs out in the parking deck and takes a peek inside the candidates’ cars. They are looking to see if there is trash and junk or if the person is neat.   At Zappos, a neat car is the sign of someone who is organized and the right fit for their culture.
  • Storage rooms.  Just because you have it (mostly talking about your house), doesn’t mean you have to use it.   This has been a tough one for me, and I’m still combating the tendency to keep things that used to be cool to me.  But my goal is to get our storage closets (and basement and attic) down to less than 50% used.  (Ours are mostly toys, kid clothes, and baby gear… and now that we agree and I’m publicly blogging that we’re done at 3 kids, we can get rid of all of it! Right honey?)
  • Cabinets don’t have to be full. It’s so easy for us to collect and collect because we can put things in cabinets and they go out of sight.  Go back and ask the hard questions.  Defrag the cabinets!

I’m definitely not there yet on this, but it’s a big priority. Feel free to call me out on it when you come over to our house and see clutter. (It’s probably the kids’ fault anyway.)



  • atlbiker says:

    Zappos car check, so simple yet so genius. Thinking back to lunch carpool runs I definitely see the car to cleanliness correlation.

    July 3, 2013 at 11:10 am

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