Keystone Possessions

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg introduces the idea of “keystone habits” - habits that kickstart several other habits:

Some habits, in other words, matter more than others in remaking businesses and lives. These are “keystone habits” … The habits that matter most are the ones that, when they start to shift, disloadge and remake other patterns.

I wonder if we also have “keystone possessions” - possessions that encourage us to buy or keep more stuff than we really need.


My apartment has a dining space that I turned into a dining/office space, with the kitchen table on one side and my desk on the other. Normally my desk houses an iMac, a printer, a paper tray, a lot of junk mail and pocket change.

I recently decided to put away the printer and the iMac, just to see if I’d actually miss them. After seeing an empty desk for several days, I wondered if I needed it at all. I rarely need to spread out papers or books or anything other than a computer, so the kitchen table would work fine. Here’s my new setup: one table right next to the kitchen that serves as both a dining table and a desk.

kitchen desk

If I end up not liking this, I’ll put it back the way it was. I have nothing against desks or nice desktop computers; I just don’t know if I need either one.