Oh yes we love stuff! We spend lots and lots of money on stuff. We collect stuff. We idolize stuff. We go into debt for our stuff. Oh yes we love our stuff. We have love affairs with our stuff all of the time, and then all of a sudden, we are drowning in stuff. Why do we spend so much of our life fretting over stuff? I feel like this should be the place where I turn this into a Dr. Seuss book with pictures of mountains of stuff that just keep piling up! Kind of what I feel my house does sometimes!
“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” —Dale Carnegie
If we could eliminate the stuff problem, we would really have a simplified life wouldn’t we? Don’t you think? Whatever would we do with ourselves? Hmm, maybe we could have a love affair with life! With our spouse! With nature! With fitness or health! We would stress less, spend less, worry less, fight less, clean less, have less garbage,
get sick less, get depressed less, go into debt less, and live a simple life. Seriously? Doesn’t that sound amazing?
Buying stuff doesn’t make us happy. Sometimes it offers a very short term happiness, mainly because it fills a temporary void in us, usually caused by being sad or upset about something. Sometimes we just like to buy stuff, because some of us like to do that. We have a short term love affair with stuff. Some of us feel like we want to give our kids everything, and so we buy stuff, creating in them the need for a love affair with stuff. Some of us covet what our neighbors and friends have, so we buy stuff, not really wanting that love affair, but because of our low self esteem, we think we need to have a love affair, just like our neighbor or friend. Regardless of what our reasons are for buying stuff, in the end it is really only still, just stuff. It won’t make us happy for very long.
I am the kind of person who tends to block out the stuff, walk around it, ignore it, move it, stack it, and then all of a sudden I blow and get rid of it! It truly is amazing how much stuff we think we need in life to survive. I absolutely love to walk into a home, where there is minimal stuff. It just brings with it a peace.
What not to do when decluttering your home – some great tips to read: here are the briefs!
- Organize First, Buy Second
- Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
- Complete Each Task – Completely
- Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
- Good Enough Is Enough
So what do we do about this love affair that is killing us? Fess up friends!! Learn to simplify and work with what we have in life, to be happy with who we are and what we have. We don’t need stuff to define who we are. We don’t need to waste endless amounts of money on things that we think will make us happy. Wouldn’t you be happier if you had an extra $10,000 in your bank account at the end of the year, instead of a house full of stuff that really means nothing except extra stress? What if before we go out and buy more stuff, we take some time to go home and think about the things that we were going to buy. Most often we will realize that we really don’t want it, or need it, and it is better off in the stuff pile of someone else.
“We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.” – Donald Horban
There are some people who think that having bigger, or better, or more stuff, defines the social class that they fit into. This isn’t necessarily so anymore. Anyone can have nice things, and lots of stuff, but be so desperately in debt that they can’t keep afloat. I actually think people with more money, tend to gather less stuff, less clutter, and are happier with that. Buying stuff does not make us look like we are keeping up with the Jones. Who want’s to be friends with the Jones anyways? It is way too stressful to play that game!
The economies of today are so very fragile, that it just makes sense to try to get out of debt, save a little money, and get rid of stuff. I am right there. I am ready to get rid of stuff that is holding me down, how about you? Great then lets see what we can do!
Remember the quote above? “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” —Dale Carnegie, well let’s try to have a little fun hey?
“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein this quote is found here on this site, Zen Habits, where she talks about 5 minute declutter projects you can use. I have listed them here, but if you want a little more meat with this sampler, go to this site and see what they say.
- Designate a spot for incoming papers
- Start clearing a starting zone
- Clear off a counter
- Pick a shelf
- Schedule a decluttering weekend
- Pick up 5 things and find places for them
- Spend a few minutes visualizing the room
- Create a maybe box
- Put a load in your car for charity
- Create a 30 day list
- Teach your kids where things belong
- Set up some simple folders
- Learn to file quickly
- Pull out some clothes you don’t wear
- Clear out your medicine cabinet
- Pull everything out of a drawer
- Learn to love the uncluttered look
- Have a conversation with your spouse or family, or room mates
How’s that for a starter list? I definitely am going to print it out and put it on my fridge. I have 5 minutes a day, or 10, to do these things. What about you?
Here is one last article – 10 Creative Ways to Declutter – check it out for more details, but here are the 10 quick peeks:
- Give yourself 5 solid minutes
- Give away one thing each day
- Fill one trash bag
- Try the closet hanger experience
- Make a list
- Take the 12 – 12 – 12 challenge
- Change your perspective
- experiment with numbers
- Use your imagination
- The Four Box Method