There are six key words that you need to know, and live by, in order to live in a simple, uncluttered home.
Throw stuff out. Buy less stuff.
It’s as simple (and as difficult) as that.
To elaborate on the environmentally irresponsible sounding “throw stuff out”, by this I really mean get the stuff out of your house. Give it away, sell it, or throw out the stuff that’s really at the end of it’s useful life. But just get it out of your house.
As a child, I used to love organising my stuff. I’d spend hours sorting the things in my cupboards and drawers. But the minute I’d sorted it, it got messy again. The fatal flaw? I had too much stuff. You can’t organise excess, because it will always get the better of you.
So phase one, on any decluttering journey, is to learn to be ruthless about getting rid of stuff. The more you get rid of, the easier it becomes to stay on top of it. Less stuff means less to organise. Less to be redistributed around the house by the small people. Less to jam into cupboards only to have it explode out the next time you open the door. Less to stress about. Less to hunt for.
Less is best.
Ok, so what about when you’ve thrown stuff out? You’ve been as ruthless as you can in phase one. What then?
You have to change your buying habits. You need to learn to buy and accumulate less. Otherwise you’ll end up right back where you started.
How do you learn to buy less?
- Take stock of how you feel with less stuff in the house. Feel good? So don’t go buy more and end up back where you started!
- Be critical of every purchase you make. Ask yourself, “Do I truly need this? Do I really love it?”
- Only go shopping when you need a specific item. Go with a list.
- Don’t go anywhere near $2 shops, or any bargain shops, especially if you’re tempted by a “deal”. Is it a deal if it adds to your clutter and causes you a headache down the line, when you’re trying to manage all these “deals”?
- Read. If you shop because you’re bored, why not consume something beneficial, like great literature, rather than consuming more stuff?
- Don’t watch TV. Less advertising will mean less desire for stuff you don’t want or need.
- Make stuff yourself. If you make something, you will appreciate it far more than something you bought for $2.
- Educate yourself on the true cost to the planet and your fellow human beings of your spending habits. Watch this animation (it’s quite old but still very relevant), or this film. We are trashing the planet with our mindless consumption, and we have a responsibility to be mindful, ethical citizens with our purchases.
- Learn to sit with discomfort. If you avoid the urge to shop every time you feel bored, or lonely, you’ll have the chance to get in tune with some of the feelings that you’re trying to escape from by shopping.
Happy simplifying 🙂