I have often included statements or advice in my post such as…
- Decluttering will get you nowhere if you reclutter while you declutter.
- Declutter excess __(insert item here)___.
- Not desiring stuff is a wonderful freedom.
- Reducing supply and demand of products is good for the environment.
- Keeping items “just in case” is futile if the items were never really necessary in the first place.
…and the list goes on. I make these statements and give this advice because most people declutter by skimming the surface of their belongings only removing the obvious things that are no longer wanted. This creates enough space for them to continue on with the same habit of replacing that clutter with the next thing that takes their fancy in the stores or through clever advertising and the cycle begins again. Clutter, declutter, reclutter, declutter, reclutter… I know this because I have been there and done that.
I have always prided myself on the fact that my home has always been a clean and tidy environment. On a regular basis as the children grew and my husband and I ungraded items in our home or fell out of like with clothing, decor, hobbies etc I would do a declutter. I would either have a garage sale, a flea market stall or donate items to charity and feel good about myself because I redeemed a few dollars, helped a charity and lightened the load of belongings in our home. But this was a temporary status.
You will notice I mentioned the words “grew, upgraded and fell out of like” all of which suggest that the clutter removed was being or had already been replaced with something else. So essentially all we were doing was making room for the next round of clutter and decluttering was just a cycle not a realisation that we had too much, were always wanting more stuff and were constantly wasting our money on stuff. Polluting the environment along the way. Granted I bought a lot of stuff secondhand at flea markets and garage sales but stuff is stuff and acquiring it is like a drug no matter how little one pays for it.
This time around for us decluttering is a lifestyle choice. Wrapped up in that is a newfound higher respect for the environment, a newfound freedom from the desire to always want new stuff, a freeing up of finances that can be better used on more worthwhile pursuits and permanent way to reduce and simplify household chores.
I feel like a rebel at times and I love it. Take that companies who manufacture endless products of no real worth or necessity. Take that advertising agencies who get paid to convince people to buy crap they don’t need. Take that credit card interest rates. Take that high cost and high rental on houses bigger than I need. Take that plastic organising tubs I will never need again. Take that storage unit companies whose services I have never and will never need to store my excess stuff…
The message here is if you like decluttering over and over again, wasting your hard earned money, maintaining stuff you rarely use, need a larger home for your stuff not your family to fit in, enjoy paying credit card interest on stuff you never needed in the first place or don’t care about the state of the environment, then by all means stay on the hamster wheel that is consumerism and ignore everything I write about here at 365 Less Things.
However if you don’t like the sound of that then effective long term decluttering requires the following list of changes
- Get rid of your excesses. Not just the things you don’t use but things you have a greater variety of than you really need.
- Know the difference between need and want. This is important when confronting those “I might need it one day” items. Ask yourself did I ever really “need” them in the first place.
- Cut back on shopping for things you don’t need, won’t get good use out of and especially thing that are just novelty items.
- Upgrading only needs to happen when the item you are replacing no longer performs to your needs (not your wants) or when the item breaks down. When upgrading does happen don’t keep the old item “just in case”.
- Be thoughtful of the environment with every purchase you make.
So are you happy to stay on the hamster wheel or are you weaning yourself off it or are you like me and have left it behind some time ago?
Today’s Mini Mission
Round up your shoes ~ Do you have shoes in the car, shoes in your bedroom, shoes at both the front and back doors? Why not find a simple solution to keep the bulk of them in one area.
Today’s Declutter Item
Over the two and a half years of my decluttering mission my son has managed to do a little “natural progression decluttering” of some old motorbike gear that had been unused for many years. First he slid out in the rain one day and tore up one of my husbands old bike jackets from the 80’s. Luckily he didn’t injure himself or do much damage to the bike. He is now wearing one of his dad’s other 1980’s bike jackets. Then he had an accident at Christmas that wasn’t his fault in which he broke his arm and damaged his gloves. He then started wearing the old pair of gloves below but due to age and frequent use one of the fingers has worn through. So now he is wearing yet another old pair of gloves.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
An ebay parcel I posted cost $5 less than I expected.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast