by Laura Jane Kilgore — Are you familiar with that feeling of trudging through life with all your worldly possessions strapped to your back? Are you tired of that feeling and ready for a little freedom? Well, there’s no easier way to simplify life than to ditch stuff.
I recently complete a major downsize from a three-bedroom house to a two-room suite in order to budget and simplify my life. I’m effectively living the tiny house dream, without actually having a tiny house. As a recovering pack rat, I’ve had to learn some things about purging the hard way. So here are some of the thing I learned about cutting the clutter.
Detach Yourself From Your Stuff
Be ruthless! Before you start, divorce yourself from your stuff. You’ve made no vows to it but your stuff has been owning you recently, hasn’t it? Assume a detached mindset. It’s time to love something new, like all the free time that you won’t have to spend taking care of your stuff.
Start Small & Get Cozy
Don’t tackle your whole house at once; the idea here is to reduce stress, not multiply it. Take on a new small task every day so you don’t get overwhelmed by the enormity of the project. Clean out a dresser or closet or cabinet each day, right when you get home from work, or after you get the kids down for a nap. Put on some jams and enjoy yourself! This doesn’t have to be painful.
Love It Or Lose It
If you don’t love it or use it, lose it. Ask yourself ‘when was the last time I used this?’ If it’s been more than a year, it’s just taking up space. When it comes to clothes, ask yourself ‘how do I feel when I wear this?’ If your clothes make you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, throw them in that donate box. This principle is especially applicable in the kitchen. Think appliances and small, recipe-specific utensils.
Remove duplicates. Unless it’s stuff that wears out or is consumable, get rid of the extras. This applies primarily for tools, appliances, office supplies, and toys.
Digital Is Neat
Got tons of paperwork? Unless it’s really important stuff, like passports, social security cards, and wills, you can go digital. Save some trees! Bank notices, paycheck stubs, and bills can be requested to be sent through email and what you do have can be scanned and stored on a USB, your computer, or (for ultra safety) on an online database. Even most appliance manuals and local restaurant menus can be easily found online, so no need to hang on to those either!
But Don’t Be Too Hasty
Now that you’ve decided what to get rid of, don’t make an emergency haul to the dump. Keep it around for a few days to make sure you don’t miss anything. If an item in that trash bag would come in handy, dig it back out and return it to its home. Remember, we’re not getting rid of stuff so we can go out and buy more.
Congratulations! You’re well on your way to a simpler, freer lifestyle! In my next articles, I’ll discuss easy and environmentally-friendly ways to dispose of unneeded stuff and then how to organize what you keep. Stay tuned!
Laura Jane Kilgore, Contributing Editor
Laura Laura Jane Kilgore was born and raised, homeschooled and college-educated right here in good ole’ H-town. She is a freelance writer, editor, and is in the process of writing several children’s novels and opening her own bakery.