I just watched the documentary, Minimalism, nothing I saw was surprising, I’ve been doing that without knowing it for several years. The more I got rid of the better I felt. Now as I embark on having a home of my own, it will be a simple, comfortable and easy space to live in because I know what I can get along without.
Here are some ways that I’ve used and some ideas from some of the people I’ve known who have reduced, reused and eliminated excess stuff.
- Help the environment by shopping at thrift and consignment stores
- Sell or donate what you really don’t need or use
- Recycle broken or worn items, there are businesses that will haul away anything that no one can use
- Start by stripping one room, putting back only those items that you like, use or serve a purpose, follow suit with the rest of your living space
- Minimize decorator items, they only collect dust and clutter your space
- Re-purpose items that can be used for something else, (I use a hanging shoe stacker for extra storage.)
- If you haven’t worn something or used an item in six months, decide if you ever will
- De-clutter any storage space you have keeping only those items that have a purpose or will be used
- Is this really necessary? If you have a storage unit that you’re paying for, ask yourself why
- When you buy something new, buy only to replace or fill a need
- Edit your collections by keeping some items out and storing some, make sure that they don’t overtake your living space, sell what makes sense
- Create a savings account with what you don’t spend to go someplace you’ve always wanted to travel to
- Increase your finances by considering your living space, are you really using and living in every part of it? Can you live in a smaller space with less?
- Help others by going public, start a group or write a blog to share ideas and help live a simpler, calmer and more meaningful life
It took a few years for me to really reduce what I had, but I am happier with my surroundings and feel much lighter. It started with my mother’s estate, the more I got rid of, the easier it was. There was a lot of stuff to go through that took thought and some hard decision-making. But, I remembered hearing someone say, it isn’t the things that our lost loved ones accumulated that we should remember and keep, but who they were, what they did, how they treated people and the way that they loved.
To this day I am still editing my stuff, but now I know to ask myself some important questions, is this valuable to me, does it serve a purpose, why am I keeping it, can I live comfortably without it? It helps to remember that our life isn’t about material things, but who and what we are, then getting rid of things is simplified.
Being indebted to banks and financial institutions for material things is a life of never-ending stress and anxiety that robs us of the life we were born to live. Consumerism has grabbed our attention and held it for so long that most people have forgotten that happiness and peace are not from things but from the people in our lives.
Now more than ever, it is time that we choose a life of meaning and purpose as we begin to reach out and connect with our human family. We are now living in an age of wisdom, a time when we are beginning to see and understand that our life should be about love, kindness, compassion and an awareness of our reason for living. Reducing the amount of stuff in our lives is a relief that lightens a very heavy load that has been breaking the back of humanity long enough.
Love people and use things, Josh Milburn (Co-Author, The Minimalists)