Best Ways to De-clutter Your Life
Westerners are a society of hoarders we collect and keep everything and this can cause stress and waste time. Stress because we live with overflowing storage spaces and clutter and time because we are continuously looking for things or dusting our treasures.
The Fire Test:
This happened to me a couple of years ago when a fire threatened our country property and we were evacuated. I had about 15 minutes to get out and so I put the pets in the car, grabbed the photo albums, some water and food and left.
We were lucky our house wasn’t taken by the fire but in all the time we sat at the evacuation centre I couldn’t think of one thing I had left behind which I would risk going back for. Everything important to me turned out to be living-my pets, family and friends.
The Travel Test :
If you have been lucky enough to travel to any third world countries where people have very little or nothing, note how much happier they seem. If their basic needs of food, water, shelter and safety are being met, in my experience many of these cultures seem so much happier and less stressed than westerners. They lead simple lives surrounded by their families and communities and still tend to be much more giving and generous with what they do have.
I had two eye opening experiences which changed me completely when it came to accumulating things. The first was the fire and the second was when I returned from Africa and had met some of poorest but happiest and most generous people who shared what they did have with us.
I returned to my home and was disgusted by the excess of all the things I thought I had to have. I finally began to declutter and refocus my life. To do this it came down simply to this:
6 Key strategies to de-cluttering and simplifying your life:
- If you haven’t used it or worn it in a year get rid of it: what are you keeping it for? The truth is you probably won’t use them ever so donate, sell or gift to others
- Stop buying things which don’t have a purpose: all the pretty ornaments, gadgets and toys are collecting dust remove them.
- Review the items on your dream list: stop trying to keep up with the neighbours by buying the latest “must haves” any toy you can think of (boats, jet skis, sport car etc.) can be rented when you get the time to actually use it this will save you a lot of money and space. Ask yourself if collecting any of these things will bring happiness to your life.
- Rethink gifts: we all accumulate too many things so instead of buying your friends or family more things instead think about getting them an experience (lunch, movie, adventure) or donating to a charity on their behalf.
- Replace don’t add: if there is something you “need” ask yourself what it is replacing and get rid of the old item. Don’t buy more pots just replace what is old and only when absolutely required. Think about land fill and our throw- away society before simply replacing items with the latest thing.
- Does it have a home to go to: de-clutter by finding a storage place for everything. If it ends up on a counter or collecting dust on a table it’s detracting from your life and it needs to go.
Finally what helped me the most in de-cluttering my life was checking my priorities. Thinking back on what I would save from the fire forced me to revalue everything I had collected over the years. So now if it doesn’t have a purpose, doesn’t have a place to live and is not something I truly treasure then I donate it.