8 Truths to Living Clutter Free
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If living a more clutter-free, simple life is your desire, I think it is more about what is in our mind rather than what is or isn’t in our homes. I think in today’s world it is so easy to get caught up in what we have from a material standpoint rather than what we truly have. Living a more streamlined and disciplined life starts with a mindset, a new perspective, and a fresh start. I have found there to be eight truths to embrace in order to live clutter free.
I think when it comes to having less stuff to deal with, it simply comes from having less stuff. It’s about being proactive in what we allow to come into our homes as well as into our lives.
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I’ve had plenty of time to experiment with this, although I didn’t really realize that I was experimenting with it since I came to realize some of these truths quite by accident.
Here’s the eight truths I’ve discovered about how to live clutter free.
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1. We don’t need nearly as much as we think we do
There was the time that I packed my kids things up, just because they were unable to keep a healthy handle on what they had. What I learned was that we really don’t need nearly as much as we think we do. We don’t need nearly as much as we have. I learned that contentment really can come with whatever amount of stuff we have, even if it is very minimal.
2. If we look to money and the things it can buy for our identity we are looking in all the wrong places
When taking a spending freeze, I realized just how much our identity can often be wrapped up in what we have and by the things that money can buy us. It was only after not buying anything for a number of days that I began to realize that our identity really has nothing to do with what we buy. I also discovered that way too much of my time was wrapped up in dealing with money in one way, shape, or form.
3. When we are focused on material things, we miss the really good things
Life is truly about relationships. It is about living intentionally, and it is in the relationships we share with others that we feel truly content. We can keep trying to fill our broken selves with stuff, or we can look to the every day, mundane moments with the ones we love to fill those places. If we choose the first option, we usually sacrifice the gift that can be found in the second option.
4. Experiences trump stuff every time
At times our finances have prohibited us from doing much of anything. There was one year when I had $5 to spend on each of my three children for Christmas. We focused on doing things, sharing experiences, and just appreciating each other that year. That was our best Christmas ever. In an effort to limit the stuff in our home as we continue to add more people into our home, our kids have been asking for experiences for gifts. They have done some amazing and memorable things with us as their parents, with grandparents, and with siblings as they have had experiences rather than more stuff.
5. It’s not the stuff that we treasure in most cases, it’s the memories surrounding that stuff
In focusing on becoming clutter free, I realized that it really is difficult for some people to let go of their stuff because they feel like they are letting go of the memories associated with their stuff. They might feel as though they are letting go of the person who gave them something by letting go of the item they received from that person. I called this emotional collecting and as someone who struggles with this at times, it was much easier for me to let go of the stuff once I recognized my issue, called it for what it was, and let go of the stuff rather than the memory. Sometimes I even took a picture of a special yet no longer needed item just for that extra measure of memory keeping when it came to that item.
6. Oftentimes we don’t have to look any further than our own homes to find what we are looking for
We live in a throw away, instant gratification society when we so easily discard things that the people of even 30 years ago would never even think of discarding. Being resourceful seems to be a lost art these days. Oftentimes if we just take a moment to look within the walls of our own home, we can repurpose something to meet a new need, at least as long as we are willing to look and think outside the box for a moment or two.
7. Dealing with clutter or even just stuff is a major time stealer
We so often don’t give thought to what something costs us beyond the initial price tag. We feel good in the moment and later get annoyed by the very thing we were so thrilled to get because it is something that requires upkeep, has ongoing time requirements, or presents storage issues down the road. There are so many times that stuff becomes a time stealer. There’s no way around it. The more stuff we have, the more time we must spend dealing with that stuff, even if we are only cleaning around it.
8. Choosing to live a more simple life can be difficult at first, but it becomes much easier with time
I think anytime we take on new habits it can feel strange and even difficult at first. We are so used to doing things one way, and to do them another way takes an enormous effort at first in many cases. However, I have come to discover how making choices to live a more simple life really makes my life easier in the long run.
Living intentionally, living with purpose, searching for a life that has meaning. If any of these are the desire of your heart, starting with the stuff in your life is a great place to start.
This post is based on a chapter in Ruth Soukup’s book, 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life. Grab a copy and join in as we work through it together, or, grab a copy and work through it at your own pace in your own time.
Either way, you will have a clutter free life by the time you work through all 31 days!