Outer Order, Inner Calm


For many of us, stuff takes over our lives—or fills the voids. Myself included.

Recently my family moved out of our home in Park City, UT, where every closet, drawer, and available space was full. For the record, we lived a sufficiently organized and, by most standards, an exceptionally clean life, given we have three boys under seven years old.

I would say we like order in our home, but that would be an understatement. I’m one of those hosts that vacuums up your crumbs during the dinner party. In my defense, I do think it’s normal that you would spill and normal that I would vacuum it up…under your feet…during dessert.

We relocated to Salt Lake City into a home that was almost twice as big as our old house. But somehow, every closet, drawer, and available space is now full. How did we fill an additional 2,600 sq. feet in a year? That’s like a whole new home! It’s particularly insane given we had a massive garage sale after moving in. Somehow, we’re bursting at the seams again. I know I have five hammers, but I can’t even find one.

I gotta simplify. It’s suffocating. If you came to my home for a dinner party, I’d like to think you’d say it was well-decorated, clean, and even somewhat interesting with all those collections going on. BUT WHY SO MUCH STUFF in every available space?

I love my things. I guess it comes from being raised by a father who has way too much stuff. He has more collections than I can count. I suspect it’s his cover story for justifying all that stuff. I also guess his need for stuff is more deeply seated than I understand, perhaps connected to his father passing when he was ten, his twin brother passing the next decade, and other unconscious emotional pressures (but that’s another blog post altogether).

At 51, I’m beginning to question my own “collections.” Just how many champagne flutes can one guy have? (For the record, over 400.) I’m not a hoarder, neither is my wife. Obviously, we’re consumers, because leprechauns didn’t bring all this stuff in. But why so much stuff?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this since interviewing Gretchen. My wife and I have talked about a “no more stuff” family policy. Says easy—does hard. Ever been to Rite Aid, Target, or Cracker Barrel with three boys and survived the onslaught of requests? I clearly haven’t. I have to leave them at home when I run an errand because I end up with three of everything in my cart. You can’t buy one toy without buying three toys. Well maybe you can, but I can’t.

Okay, so I suck as a parent. Again, a different blog post.

“Outer order, inner calm,” I’m telling myself.

My wife Stephanie and I are practicing, beginning this week, at bringing nothing but groceries inside for seven days.

Maybe the boys will fight less if there’s less stuff to fight over.

Wish us success! It’s only the third week of June during summer vacation.

Outer order, inner calm…


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About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Releases, Master Mentors: 30 Transformative Insights From Our Greatest Minds, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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