It is probably age (I am 49) that makes me reconsider a lot of decisions and matters that used to be important to me in the past, but there is also a trend going on. When I read magazines and newspapers, I recognise a similar movement towards simplicity and contentment.
Like myself, more and more people do not want to keep gathering more material things around them, but rather less material. What should be left however, should be of the right quality.
When I wrote my blog on Simplify your Life (see earlier blogs), I already hinted in this direction coming from a different angle. Trying to achieve financial independence, knowing what you need and losing what you do not need may make the difference.
There are voices that say that the people who are rich and can buy anything they want, do not stand out anymore by collecting more “bling, bling” and material things.
The rich seem to have found a new trend: the new way of standing out is: “Giving Away”.
For those in need, who are on the receiving end, it could be a welcoming trend.
What ever way you want to look at it, I decided that “Less is More” works for me. It helps me to better appreciate what I have. And besides that, de-cluttering my house every now and then, helps me to de-clutter my mind. Less chaos in the house, less chaos in my head;
Personally, the most obvious moments are when moving to another country and house. In my case, on average every 2 to 4 years. Next to these moments, whenever I feel in need of clearing my head and organising my thoughts.
Moving to another house may be a bit drastic, but for those of you who want to know how to get started, some ideas and tips:
1. Know what you have: most of us are not even aware of all the stuff we have. Make a list of every you own, including the attic, garage and cellar. You will be amazed about the length of the list. On the list you will immediately recognise what you would like to get rid of or could easily do without.
2. Start “slowly”: If you want to get used to a new habit, it takes time and repetition. Plan your search for things to give or throw away in your calender and plan these events at intervals of several weeks over a year. The more often you take the action, the easier it becomes.
3. Start with the “easy” things: throwing things away is not always easy to do. So start by taking things and clothes that still look good and you can give away. Makes other people happy and therefore you happy.
4. Make selections: When going through stuff like old letters, objects the children made, presents you received, set aside those things that should never leave your presence. Maybe those objects deserve a more prominent place in the house. If they are to be kept in boxes in the attic, how truly special are they to you? There maybe a pitfall: the articles are not special to you, but to the person who gave them to you. Or the person who gave the present is special to you? Maybe taking a picture of the article and keeping that is a solution. It is all about the memory, not the material it is made of.
5. “But I may need it later”. Ever had that thought? How much later must it be for you to keep hanging on? Test it therefore and put those things you think you may need later in some boxes. If you did not touch those boxes or their content for a period of time, say 3 months, you can give or throw the content away. Put that deadline in your calender though. I know that those kind of deadlines we set ourselves, have the tendency to become “flexible”.
6. “Shop stop”: Honestly prevails. This tip I often struggle with myself. This is a rule you can set yourself. You decide not to buy anything new during a certain period of time. A quarter of a year would be a good start. Longer is better. Every time you need something, you will have to become creative how to get by. You could borrow from friends (I have heard that the every drilling device in households operates on average only 2 hours of it’s existence), swap one article for another with the neighbors, bake cookies for presents, exchanges clothes with your friends, etc.
There are many more ideas I am sure. What is your method or tip to de-clutter your house? Share your tips and gives us new ideas to get started or to advance even further and comment on the blog.
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