In an earlier post, less stuff = more happiness, I shared how and why I started simplifying my life, five years ago, by reducing my possessions. Once I had done that, the challenge was to keep it that way and ensure that the old habits don’t creep back in.
My short shopping spree today made me realize how religiously I follow certain rules that have allowed me to keep my possessions to the minimum and continue to have a clutter-free life. These rules can be summarized as three simple strategies that anyone can follow. Simple, but not easy…
- Shop Mindfully:
- Only buy what you need – really need. If it’s a temporary need, see if can be borrowed or rented.
- Go with a shopping list and stay focused. Don’t be distracted by displays or special offers.
- Don’t buy anything ‘just in case’ you might need it. Trust that you’ll find it ‘just in time’.
- Always buy quality. It lasts longer, so costs less in the long run.
- Don’t compromise on the style, size or color, otherwise you may be discarding it too soon.
- Discard ruthlessly:
- Once you buy a new something, get rid of the old one. Not tomorrow, not later, right now.
- Find local charities or Salvation Army stores where the old stuff could go. If it’s too bad or old or broken to go to charity, then recycle it.
- Give yourself limited space to keep your stuff. Once that space fills up, you know it’s time to reduce.
- Use gratefully:
- Whether it’s clothing, gadgets, books or other possessions, be grateful every time you use them. Remind yourself that millions of people do no have access to such luxury.
- One of the biggest reasons for buying and accumulating stuff is being ungrateful for what we already have – that feeling of not having enough.
- When we are grateful, we take good care of our stuff, and don’t discard/replace them easily.
If that sounds too difficult, just take one step at a step. And perhaps developing the attitude of gratitude would be a good start. I look forward to your comments.
[Photo from a shopping mall in Dubai. Sep. 2010]