So, I am one month in on my New Year, Less Stuff Project! I have been doing a lot of reading lately on the effect our “stuff” has on our lives. I have always enjoyed a life of order. I need visual organization around me to feel balanced and calm. I completely believe in most of the principles of Feng Shui and try to incorporate them into my work and home spaces. So on the surface, I look really organized and clutter free. BUT…. open a drawer or a cupboard, go in my basement or storage spaces, and it is overwhelming and unbelievable the amount of stuff I have kept over time. I decided it is time to simplify and downsize. It has certainly been an overwhelming project and it doesn’t happen overnight. Patience, determination and a lot of labor has been needed!
Let’s start with WHY do we have so much stuff! One book I read, got real about why we keep buying more and more stuff and why we keep it all. I found it very interesting.
Buying provides a temporary high
We use shopping to distract ourselves
We buy things to impress others
We try to become our fantasy selves
“Everything you own, owns you right back”
Courtney Carver, decluttering guru
Stuff weighs us down. It makes it hard to focus and translates to chaos.
Here’s some thoughts on having too much “stuff”….
Clutter represents a delayed decision
Quality not Quantity
If you declutter your home, you declutter your life
Decluttering also applies to your schedule-how you spend your time-say no!
A never-ending to-do list signifies clutter
Being surrounded with stuff provides a false sense of security
I think I can agree to all of that! I decided it was time to get started and see if I did indeed see and feel the change in my environment. Here is my “How to get started” list that I have been following …
- One room/section at a time (you can really see and feel an impact quickly)
- Start with what bugs you the MOST (I did my linen closet!)
- Give yourself a time limit or small goal (like one hour or one drawer)
- Take a before and after picture (so satisfying!)
- Turn the music Up! (keeps up the energy)
- Make piles: keep, give away, sell, “not yet” (with rules) & garbage
- Don’t just organize!
- Keep only things you absolutely LOVE
- If it’s a memory or something someone made for you- Take a picture of it!
Internal dialogue as I go: Do I really need it?
How often do I use this? Is it necessary?
What would the space feel like if it were removed?
Could someone else put this to better use?
Would this bring someone else more joy than me?
As I said I am one-month in. I have gone to Goodwill about 5 times now with a very full car. I have several items up for sale online. I have overfilled my garbage can and my neighbors every week. I have gone through all my upstairs closets and drawers. Most of my kitchen drawers and cabinets. I have 60% of my basement done to date with the goal of emptying it out so we can start to drywall and finish it. Basically I have been spending about 12 hours a week going through stuff and here’s some of the actual dialogue that goes through my head…light humor.
“I might need this someday”
“Awwww…It’s a memory”
“It has too much value to just give it away”
“I’d feel guilty if I gave this away”
“I forgot I had this”
“only if I can sell it”
“I better keep this for my grand babies”
“I should start painting again”
“Why on earth do I have all my paperwork/taxes since 1991?”
“I can’t believe I saved this!”
“I still have all my college design projects?”
“Anyone need 15 halloween costumes?
“I will never ever wear these bows in my hair again”
I also have some new rules for myself going forward you might want to adopt…
One in, One out
Sale? would I ever buy this at full-price?
I can’t buy it until I know where it goes
I want better not more
Do you love it or just like it?
Wait a week to buy an impulse item
It’s been a lot of work, a lengthy stroll down memory lane, and a ton of choices, So how am I FEELING?
It feels so amazing once you can let things go! I feel empowerment, freedom and fulfillment! There is extra room to breathe. I love opening up a cabinet over and over just to look at it. I feel great about giving others things I know they can use. I am making some money on items with value. I have adopted a new attitude on stuff in general. In fact, I think Ken is getting a little worried I might take this too far! I’ll keep you posted on my progress, but it is really addicting to let things go and make space for the energy to move and lighten things up! You can see and FEEL the difference!
In Love & Light,