From infuriating books that sing the joys of extreme minimalism to TV programmes featuring unhappy people being overwhelmed by a mountain of their belongings, we all seem consumed with a fetish-like fascination with stuff and what we should be doing with it. We’re transfixed and confused as we watch the hoarders on TV cling to their clutter, while in the ad breaks we’re pressurised to buy yet more alluring products that we just don’t need.
Until you realise that the stuff you’re buying isn’t satisfying anyone but the companies that have your cash, you’ll keep on chasing the dream, accumulating more with money you could be using to do something that really does give you joy.
How much of your stuff do you really need and use, and how much are you keeping out of fear that you might need it ‘one day’? If you’re clinging to a lifeboat of rubbish hoping it’s going to save your life, it’s time to swim ashore.
It’s only natural to feel uncomfortable about living with less – we’ve been told all our lives that we can never have enough of it!
Still feeling clingy? Here are some more thoughts to help you see the light…
Less choice – less stress
Take clothes for example. If you own fewer clothes, you’ll find them more quickly, have less laundry and the clothes you do wear will always be the things you really like.
Better for the environment
Buying less will reduce your carbon footprint. Buy food locally that you’re sure you’ll use up.
You’ll feel lighter
Whether you’re dealing with your own clutter or have inherited someone else’s stuff, keeping your possessions down to the essentials will help to lighten your load.
It’s pointless not to
What’s in the loft? If you can’t remember, then what’s the point of it being there at all? Just think how lovely it would be to clear your shed, attic or any over-stuffed room, and be able to see the sun streaming through a window on to an empty floor.
It’s good for your mind
Less chaos soothes the mind. Don’t turn your head into a bin!
Possessions attach you to the past
Keeping too many things that remind you of the past – hoards of old photos, furniture and inherited items – can stop you from moving forwards, especially if there are unhappy memories attached to them.
Display your lovely things
Removing the clutter lets you show off the items that make you happy.
This article was originally published in Issue 1, Breathe Magazine – Make Time for Yourself.