We all have it, to some extent: Stuff that has just accumulated over time, in your house, your car, your life. That thing your friend got you that never actually gets used, but you feel guilty getting rid of. The thing you bought when you were into a hobby that is long-since abandoned. “Things” happen to all of us!
But have you noticed how they create clutter, and detract from the rest of your life? I certainly have, and have outlined the main ways I’ve noticed that unneeded things and clutter take away from what is important to you.
Having fewer things gives you more time
How much of your day do you spend managing stuff in your house? This includes chores such as dishes and laundry, cleaning up kids’ toys, and general maintenance of the things you own. Though some of these are necessary, there may be a more efficient way to get it all done. For example, when you don’t have so many clothes, laundry becomes a much more manageable chore (Click here to read about a great way to manage clothes and laundry, even kids’ clothes!).
Having fewer things saves you money
Part of this is obvious: If you buy fewer things, you save more money! But there are two more ways that less stuff means more cash. First, you don’t have to maintain all that stuff. Many things, especially bigger items, cost money to maintain. Even little things often must be replaced, or cleaned and taken care of. You’re either paying someone for this, or it’s taking the time you could be using on other pursuits.
Second, you can sell many of the items you decide no longer deserve a place in your home! If there’s a lot, having a yard sale can be a nice way to downsize. If there are larger or more valuable items, Craigslist is my favorite way to sell it off. For smaller things, I often use Facebook Marketplace, or you can sell on Amazon or eBay if you don’t mind shipping. Finally, consider giving things away to a local thrift store, charity organization, or Church program.
Having fewer things minimizes distractions from goals
When I began Pure Simplicity, I realized the importance of this one. I had goals for when I wanted the website to be up and running, and things that took me away from working on it became very apparent. Unneeded clutter around the house, my truck, and elsewhere had the potential to really slow down my progress. If you have goals, or any important and specific tasks to attend to, then don’t let your stuff hinder you!
Having fewer things takes away stress
This is one of the first indicators for me that too many things are piling up around me. I’ll start feeling like I’m behind on what needs to be done, or like I’m spinning my wheels – “This set of toys looks strangely familiar…have I cleaned it up a couple (or ten) times today already?!”
As always, some stuff is just fine, and benefits your life. But when you are feeling stressed as a direct result of material things around you requiring attention, it is a good indicator that you have excess stuff.
Having fewer things shifts your focus from material to people and ideas
This concept is easy to forget. Amidst all your material goods, you have family. You have friends. You have ideas, pursuits, and values. Too many things to maintain will inevitably take away from your time with others, whether in quality or in quantity. You have a life, and thoughts and feelings that are valuable. Don’t give so much of yourself to inanimate things that they take away from who you are and what is important to you.
In the end, some things are very helpful tools for adding value to your life, but some are not. It’s up to you to discern which are which. Joshua Becker describes minimalism this way: “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.”
Next, check out my step-by-step guide for decluttering your schedule!