Back to work or school means..…stuff.

From pencil cases to laptop cases, the mood is all about new kit.

It’s irresistible. New start, new tools.

Yet the Christmas de-cluttering books will also be out any day now, so it’s time to prepare a line to take against all that finger wagging. De-cluttering exhorts you to simplify and focus. Lose what you don’t need, go minimal. It’s all your fault.

Watching this ebb and flow of wanting to reduce then acquire (it applies to objectives and plans, too) with clients and teams, I am convinced that there is a natural force at work. This building up of stuff can’t all be our fault.

A brilliant science-fiction brain got there way before me. Philip K Dick used the word ‘kipple’ in ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ set in a post-apocalyptic future.

The word refers to useless junk.

But the special quality of this useless junk is that it reproduces itself when nobody’s around. There is a natural law operating, ‘kipple drives out non kipple’ says the kipple philosopher in the book, and adds ‘no one can win against kipple, except temporarily and maybe in one spot’. (Which does seem to have inspired much of the visual design in “Blade Runner’, Ridley Scott’s take on the story)

The entropy idea feels right, but it’s the ‘temporarily and in one spot’ that has always struck me as so helpful. The word ‘clutter’ lands with a thud of moralistic righteousness. The word ‘kipple’ comes with no such …clutter.

It’s simply one of the many forces at work in the world in which we live. Anything you can do, in any small way or space, to push back the tide of absolute kippleization becomes a fantastic triumph against a force of nature.

It just sounds so much more enjoyable – to try a little conscious un-kippling.

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