‘Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’
Last month we looked at the nuts and bolts of happiness and explored a short list of those things that science has demonstrated truly make us happy and enhance our sense of well-being. This month it’s all about stripping back the excess.
Amazingly enough, nowhere in the lists from last month were the latest in consumer gadgets, fashion trends and loads of cheap plastic STUFF. Yes, we do need some stuff (enough to fulfil our basic physiological needs), but what we don’t need is a closet of unworn clothes, miles of electric cabling to power our various gadgets and mountains of paperwork clutter.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all your stuff?
Here’s the thing…
In subtle and sneaky ways, having too much stuff really can damage your chances at happiness as your stuff starts to become the master and you the slave.
Think about it…
First of all, you either need the money to buy the STUFF in the first place or you do what most of us do nowadays and put it on credit. All of a sudden you have to work more simply to be able to bring that STUFF into your house in the first place.
Next, you have to clean and tidy the STUFF, find it a home, trip over it, repair it if it breaks and worst of all; worry about what other people may think about your STUFF. (By the way, not having all matching glassware and the latest in designer heels does not make you a bad person. Just FYI…)
Finally, there comes a point when you have to get rid of the STUFF, preferably without pouring finite resources down the drain.
Now I don’t know about you, but that’s a whole lot more mental energy than I am prepared to spend on inanimate objects that despite my best efforts, will never love me back.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of STUFF in your house, then it is time to reclaim your time, energy and resources and put stuff back in its rightful place.
Top Tips for the Beginner Declutterer
• Despite the temporary high that it brings to rejoice in a decluttered home, decluttering just for the sake of it is unlikely to bring the long term benefits that you are dreaming of. It’s vital to identify your motivation (do you want greater happiness and peace of mind, more free time, less debt, less housework?) and keep this in the forefront of your mind. This will prevent you replacing the old stuff with, well, more stuff.
• Be environmentally and socially conscious. Decluttering is not an excuse to fill the rubbish bin just to get stuff out of the house. Be a little creative with finding homes for your unwanted goods. Charity shops will welcome clothes in good condition, discarded paperwork makes great biodegradable weed matting and your local women’s refuge may be in desperate need of clean toys.
• Start small and build momentum. Identify just one area of your home to tackle, savour the victory and then move on to the next.
• Enlist the help of your family. This is not always easy so check out my post on the Complexity of Simplicity for some ideas to get people on board.
• Commit to reducing the volume of stuff coming into your home. Reduce paper clutter (and your ecological footprint) by switching to online bills, adopt a 2 for 1 policy (for every 1 new item in to the house, 2 must go) and most of all, stop shopping for entertainment!
Awesome Blogs to Inspire You on Your Decluttering Journey
There are some absolutely awesome blogs out there that will help to inspire you on your decluttering journey. These are some of my absolute must reads!
Slow Your Home – Brooke’s blog is inspiring and reassuring in equal measure. It has step by step instructions for those beginning a declutter and an annual challenge to help you on your journey!
The Minimalist Mom – Rachel’s family have drastically reduced their debt and moved overseas. She has some great practical advice that is suitable for everyone.
Becoming Minimalist – I’ve only recently discovered this one and although the minimalist concept seems a little scary at first, I’ve fallen in love with Joshua’s piercing observations and laid back approach. Becoming Minimalist offers both practical tips and logical reasoning.
P.S – No, buying another Ikea ‘smart storage solution’ is NOT the answer to your STUFF problems. Chances are that you already have enough space and storage.
P.P.S – I’m really excited about next month as we start to look at reconnecting with ourselves and the art of mindful living. Make sure you check back here in early March!
P.P.P.S – You don’t really have to break up with your Ikea storage solutions. If you find them useful, by all means keep them. Just don’t believe that they hold the answer to your STUFF problems!