Life is hectic. We have jobs, responsibilities, families, friends, and pets to attend to, not to mention the dirty dishes in the sink. It may not be hard to do those dishes, but when you have little rug rats running around, and friends who want to hang out, and errands you have to run, things begin to spin out of control. We’ve touched on tidying up your home and your work space before, but we’re gonna go one step further and work on tidying up your life. (Unless, of course, you dig the hectic, untidy lifestyle, at which point, more power to you.)
As a society that is fueled by consumerism, we tend to think that more is better. We always want more than the person next to us - they have two scoops of ice cream? I gotta have three! – and in the face of the incessant ads telling us this is true, we forget the most basic of truths, “mo’ money, mo’ problems”. What is gained, by having more? Do we get more enjoyment? Not always. Do we get more use? Usually not. What about more happiness? Not enough to last more than a couple days, at most. So then why get more? It seems the reason is simply, to have more.
What if we didn’t have more? What if we had less? Not so much less that we’re needing for something, but less so that our NEEDS are met and our wants aren’t always indulged? I mean, do I really need 10+ pairs of shoes (regrettably, that’s a real number.)?
Let’s do this, you and me, let’s go and establish ways that we can get life neat and tidy. Sound good?
We’ve been through this; we don’t need all the stuff we have. We may like it, we may even want to keep it, but do we need it? No.
If you haven’t worn something in more than six months, get rid of it. Simple as that.
If you haven’t worn something in three months because winter is cold, or summer is hot (I wouldn’t expect you to wear a tank top during the winter), keep it. If not, hasta lavista, baby.
The same goes for shoes, by the way. A good rule of thumb for clothes and things? If you can see the dust on it, get it out.
(Get the most out of your clothes by donating them. Don’t throw them away.)
Other Assorted Stuff
Take an inventory of your storage closets, your kitchen cabinets, even your living room bookshelves, and get rid of everything you don’t need. I know it’s a fun idea to have a strawberry slicer but you and I both know you’ll use it once and forget all about it.
Physical stuff obviously takes up a lot of space but don’t sleep on the stuff floating around in that head of yours. A lot of times, getting things clean and tidy has nothing to do with your physical possessions, but rather the mental baggage you carry as you navigate the physical clutter of everyday life.
I’m no doctor - though I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night - but I can tell you that living neatly and tidy-ly starts in your mind. It’s not about wanting something, or not wanting something. It’s about being ok not having that something.
Everyone has their own thoughts on what it is they actually need but if you are indeed trying to tidy up and minimalize your life, I challenge you to push yourself beyond what you’re comfortable with. Do you consistently fall prey to the “impulse buy”? Hold yourself accountable and resist that urge next time you’re in the checkout line. This will do two things for you: 1) it’ll stop you from replacing the stuff you just got rid of, and 2) it’ll train your mind to think differently. You’ll no longer need to buy everything that catches your eye, and that’s more freeing than you can imagine.
ASK BEFORE YOU BUY
Let’s say you don’t want to completely remove the “impulse buy” from your repertoire. Fine, I get it. Instead, seriously ask yourself this one question: “Do I need this”? If it takes more than a second to find the answer, the answer’s found you.
Life throws a lot our way, both materially and mentally. Keep only what you need.
Until next time – enjoy all your open space.