Cluttered closets and garage bringing you grief? Learn to shed the unnecessary and minimalize so you can maximize what’s really important: life.
Perhaps you don’t need to trade your house in for a tent, but it is time you start looking deeper into what you own. It’s time to clean out your life. As a life coach, one of the first things I advise my clients who feel overwhelmed or frustrated to do is clean out a small portion of one of the places they frequent often. Whether those people start with a desk drawer at work, a locker at the gym, a closet in their house, or their car, all of those spaces are perfect. According to Becoming Minimalist, “the U.S. Department of Energy reports that one-quarter of people with two-car garages have so much stuff in there that they can’t park a car.” America, we have a problem.
So why does it matter? Maybe you have a garage full of things that you “need” (kids’ toys, tools, cleaning supplies, etc.), and you don’t actually believe any of this applies to you. Well, this may help. Becoming Minimalist also cited The Daily Mail saying, “Over the course of our lifetime, we will spend a total of 3,860 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items. The research found we lose up to nine items every day – or 198,743 in a lifetime. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list.” If you have ever lost one of these things, this article is for you.
“Three Rules of Work: out of clutter find simplicity; from discord find harmony; in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein
We value our time in our society. We use smartphones and drive a little too fast. We search for the job that will pay us the most per hour. We look for shortcuts in everything—so why is it we skip right past what’s in front of us every day? If you value your time, it’s time to get rid of everything you own. At the very least, get rid of what doesn’t serve you. Here are some tips to do so!
1. Give Away Gifts
Have a few too many afghans lying around the house? Consider donating them to a shelter! Marilyn Bohn said, “Even if you received something as a gift, it’s okay to let it go. You only need to keep what works for you.”
2. Declutter in Chunks
Make sure to set aside small chunks of time to chip away at the clutter. If you try to clean out your entire house in a day, the odds are your energy will deplete quickly and your focus will dwindle even quicker. Put aside a few hours at a time (maybe working up from five minutes a day) to conquer small projects. This will allow you to stay motivated and accomplished rather than burned out.
Before decluttering a space, visualize how you want the room to look. What does and does not belong? When you’re finished, take another hard look at the room. Does the room give you better and lighter energy? Is there anything that still just doesn’t seem like it fits? Follow your intuition. If something doesn’t fit quite right, you have two options: either get rid of it or find it a new place to reside.
4. Trash the TV
Nielsen Media Research reported that, on average, American homes now have more televisions than real people with 2.73 TV sets to 2.55 people. Try owning less in order to experience more. Turn off the television. Instead, spend more time outdoors and with family and people you love. Be honest with yourself—could you get more out of life without a television?
Remember your goal. By shedding the unnecessary, you open up new opportunities. Suddenly, you won’t spend so much time searching for lost things. There will be more space to play with your kids or dog or to just breathe. Focus on what you really want in life, and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit into that picture.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” ~ Hans Hoffman
If something doesn’t bring meaning or purpose into your life, it doesn’t need to be in your life. Even more importantly, if those same things are distracting you from your life’s purpose, they need to leave, now. Imagine the freedom that comes with owning less. By focusing not on what you’ve removed but instead on what you’ve gained, you’ll soon recognize and bask in the great opportunities, less expensive ways of living, and the easier and calmer way of living.
Perhaps you can take some of your newfound time to cook a new, healthy vegan meal. Learn a new skill or start writing in a daily journal. Maybe you can call up an old friend you haven’t seen in years or go for a walk outside and leave your phone inside. Consider taking a yoga class or planting some seeds outside. Whatever it may be, do something for you. You’ve cleaned out your space, now it’s time to clean out your old energy by replacing it with new. Enjoy!
“We don’t need to increase our good nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.” ~ Donald Horban