There are real differences between a workplace and home environment.

Workplaces are all about ‘efficiency’ and ‘functionality’ while at home we try to create comfortable environments and surrounding ourselves with treasured possessions. We talk about turning a ‘house’ (functional) into a ‘home’ (comfortable) – what is important are the memories we associate with the space.

The digital age has brought radical change. For a growing number of us there is a blurring of lines between home and work. Digital working can provide us with the functional facilities needed to work from home – whether we want to or not! The move to 24/7 life-styles means that even if we normally work away from home the demands of the job increasingly interrupt household routines.

Our memories too are being ‘digitised’. Music collections are now digital as are films, photographs and increasingly books. The physical possessions we own are decreasing. The Director of Christie’s antiquarian book department described ‘the race to the bottom’. With space at a premium many people no longer value books – flooding the second hand market. As a result the vast majority of books have no value. Second hand books are listed on Amazon at a price of £0.01p – the retailers make their margin on the packaging and posting. Conversely, rare books are highly valued and here the Internet works in reverse – more buyers than ever become aware of a rare book being available and demand, and the price, goes up. What the Internet has done for books applies to almost everything else.

The war generation were taught to hold on to everything ‘just in case’ and many of that generation passed the habit on to their offspring. Baby boomers who developed the hoarding habit ran in to a space issue. Not only were they living through an age of mass production and changing fashions, they were also living longer. As a result they have accumulated vast amounts of ‘stuff’ which they feel the need to keep near to them.

In the digital age there is no need for us to hang on to these items ‘just in case’. The Internet provides a efficient way of redistributing other people’s ‘stuff’. Whatever you want is available online and if supply outstrips demand the price tumbles. The bottom line is why keep your stuff ‘just in case’ when someone else will keep it for you?!

Here are some new rules for the digital age.

Working environments are about efficiency and effectiveness.

Homes are where we make and enjoy memories. As they become increasingly digital they need to be backed up – ideally multiple times.   This includes correspondence, photos, videos, films, music collections and digital books.

If they are to be enjoyed they need to be organised – don’t mistake quantity for quality. There is no enjoyment in a random selection of digital files!

Physical possessions should increasingly be limited to two categories – functional and valuable – functional items are self evident – the items you need. Valuable items have little to do with money – they are the items you value most. Liking something is not enough – surround yourself only with items you love.