I’m sick of my stuff.
When I look around at all the stuff I own, one word comes to mind: hoarder. My mother taught me years back to never waste things. I guess that’s what started me on saving every thing. From old folded up letters I got from the girls down the hall in junior high to more expensive things like every video game console ever made… ever. And not just where I reside, there’s even more locked away in a big metal cube that I pay for every six months.
A few weeks ago it hit me, I have a lot of shit. I know I’m not alone in this because most of my friends have way more stuff then I do, but they also don’t organize as much as I do. I usually use every Sunday to clean up and consolidate all my stuff. Putting things in an order that made sense. But the accumulation of stuff with no room to put it, I’ve realized, is the bigger problem.
I could probably find a home for every single thing, but no matter what, at a certain point it all looks like clutter; and clutter is never sexy, ever.
The guys at theminimalists.com said it best in an essay titled “ORGANIZING IS OFTEN WELL-PLANNED HOARDING”.
In an effort to get a grip on my “stuff” situation I started out by throwing away all the things I thought I would never use, but during my foray into my deserted belongings I came across way too many items I wanted to keep just for memory’s sake. I put it into my “memory box”. That box couldn’t hold all my shit. Everything I owned seemingly had some story to go along with it and I didn’t want to give up those memories. I failed in that attempt to rid myself of clutter. So I went looking for a book.
Searching through my Kindle I came across Andrew Mellon’s Unstuff your life, quickly one-clicked it, and got to devouring all the info I could stomach in an hour’s time. I obviously spent more then an hour reading, it was just good stuff. The most important info I got from it was not the technical aspects of organizing and such, but of my relationship with stuff.
I believe that is the biggest question. What is your relationship with stuff?
- – If you have LESS stuff does that make you LESS of a person? Hell no.
- – Do you keep stuff to impress people?
- – What is the purpose of your collections? Movies, music, dishes, figurines, those little glass animals or flowers you buy at the mall whenever you can’t think of a present to get someone.
- – Do you even need a collection?
- – When’s the last time you used (INSERT ITEM HERE)?
- – Are those comics really going to be worth a lot in the future? Even if they are, would you even sell them?
- – Do you fall for the manipulation of ads when they tell you you NEED what they’re offering?
- – Do you hold on to things for sentimental value? Or to trigger good memories?
- – Do you really need PHYSICAL things to trigger those memories?
For me it’s hard to work and be creative in a room with clutter, even if it is organized clutter. It also doesn’t allow me to move easily, and being the type that likes to travel, I propose to corral everything I would need into a few suitcases.
I’ve never even heard of minimalism until I started seeing results everywhere on my Google searches when looking for solutions for my crap. I don’t even know if I would want to be one. There are some hardcore minimalists out there that live with less than 100 items. Yeah, that’s not happening with my endeavors. Filmmaking alone already tops me off at about 130 items.
I AM gravitating toward the philosophy of minimalism though.
Colin Wright at exilelifestyle.com puts it this way:
“What Minimalism is really all about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff – the possession and ideas and relationships and activities – that don’t bring value to your life.”
Read his whole post here.
RESOURCES & INSPIRATION
I stumbled onto this site years ago when I was trying to figure out how to stop being lazy. It also became the reason why I started blogging in the first place. Through these blog posts I discovered principles of simplicity and not just quick techniques to get me through a bind, and so started the deconstruction of my life and breaking things down into its essence (as far as productivity goes). This lead to…
I first read Tim Ferriss’s book The Four Hour Work Week before I discovered his blog. In it, his book and blog, he follows the “80-20 Rule” or “The Pareto Principle”. A principle that I highly recommend to those looking to be more efficient and stop wasting time doing things that are less meaningful or don’t have a large enough result to make a difference.
The rule goes as follows: 80% of the EFFECTS come from 20% of the CAUSES.
Or let’s break it down even more: find what matters, and do it.
I’ve just recently stumbled onto these guys’ site and found it immensely helpful to breaking down the “why’s” of materialism and principles to living purposefully. A lot of good stuff in here guys.
It’s a gallery and a store. I just like looking at all the furniture and rooms in the interactive catalog. I vow to live in those spaces one day.
Lastly, as I’ve mentioned before, Andrew Mellen’s Unstuff Your Life!: Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good is an excellent read (or listen). I found this on Audible actually and it’s an in depth guide on organizing things in and around your home or office. Focusing on only two rules: 1. One home for every thing and 2. Like with like, it’s repeated through every chapter and used on varying circumstances. Plus, the audiobook is also read by Andrew and he’s pretty entertaining and humorous, reading his own stuff.
So as I enter and learn more about living with less, I’ll keep you guys in the loop. Knowing me, I tend to be an ALL-IN, BALLS-IN type of character and eventually I’ll have my own ideas and theories to add to this current pursuit. And hopefully I’ll get to a point where what I live in looks like one of those places you find in those Zen interior design books.
Simple yet sexy.
Let me end with something I’ve used in the past and still do to this day, a guiding principle when it comes to stuff or relationships or whatever else you can apply this to.
If I don’t use it and it holds no intrinsic value, toss it.