Clear the decks

Innovation is being stifled by too much clutter. NAOMI SIMSON

Naomi Simson

By Naomi Simson

Look around you right now – are you at work, home, or in an airport? What do you see? Is it clutter? Stuff that has not been dealt with?

I arrived at the office this morning, and noticed that we had boxes everywhere. Christmas marketing materials, RedBalloon in a Box samples, returned mail – just stuff everywhere. Not a good first impression. And definitely not an environment conducive to a focused, innovative, productive day.

Needless to say we whipped into gear… and it was sorted. But things just get put down, and sort of forgotten. The larger the organisation, the less people seem to be responsible for “stuff”.

But 84% of people feel stressed by the clutter in their lives. This is not just at home but also at work.

We have just completed a RedBalloon online survey, and the results are fascinating.

Most people are stressed by the clutter in their lives – but they’re not sure what to do with the clutter. So nothing happens. On a personal level 7% use storage facilities, but the mums and dads of Australia provide free storage for 16%… perhaps the kids’ clutter is causing the parents to be stressed.

And 74% of respondents said that they feel like their home is cluttered with items and nearly half say that their storage at home is full.

The homes of Australia are bursting at the seams, but people still struggle to throw things out.

Only 23% of people will dispose of a gift that they don’t like; 13% will give it to someone else (re-gift), but most just keep the gift hanging around. What happens to those corporate promotional items that seem too good to ditch, but stay on your desk forever? (Please, no more insulated thermos mugs.)

You’d think that people would reduce the clutter in a spring clean – but 48% do a spring clean less than once a year, and 7% never do a spring clean! Ugh. Which is a worry when 62% of people consider themselves a “hoarder”.

Combine this with the statistic that 65% of Australians last Christmas received a gift that they did not want (or like) – the value of these gifts was estimated to be worth $985 million.

No wonder we think experience gift vouchers are such a good idea.

The clutter problem applies to business too. Have a look around you… is there something there that needs to be dealt with? Do it. Clear your space, and clear your mind – then start chasing that new big account. You will have made space for them.


Naomi is a finalist in the 2008 Australian HR Awards and the 2008 Telstra Women’s Business Awards, winners to be announced end 2008. Naomi was also a finalist for the BRW Most Admired Business Owner Award in 2008 and Marketing Employer of Choice by B&T in 2007. One of Australia’s outstanding female entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a professional speaker inspiring middle to high-level leaders on employer branding, engagement and reward and recognition. Naomi writes a blog and has written a booksharing the lessons from her first five years.

To read more Naomi Simson blogs, click here .



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