During a recent move, I was proud to put together all of my personal stuff (everything that I own) into an 18kg bag. And the FB post got a lot of interest – some wouldn’t believe, some wanted to know what’s in it, some curious to learn how or why. And that inspired this blog post, and I am happy to share why I do it and how.
It’s a lifestyle! Accumulating less stuff; getting rid of unwanted things; keeping within a pre-defined space; staying organized… is not a one-time project. It’s a lifestyle. I started the process about ten years ago, and wrote the first blog post on the subject five years ago. That post covers how I got rid of all the books, reduced the amount of clothes, minimized all accessories, simplified and organized everything, and then applied the same principals to my office and desk.
Why de-clutter and simplify?
- Easy to find what you are looking for, whether it’s a file on your computer or a travel adaptor
- Take less space, whether it’s a wardrobe, cabinet or a shoe rack
- Focus on quality instead of quantity
- Spend more on experiences (books, travel, personal development, causes) and less on things (except those you buy for others)
Buy less, of everything
- Buy only what you need, and only when you need it, not whatever is on sale.
- Wait and see if you really need it. Then see if you can borrow it, before you buy.
- Buy good quality so it lasts longer and you buy less often.
- Buy only if there’s space to keep it, not find a space after you buy it.
Continue getting rid of stuff
- When you buy a new one, get rid of the old one – clothes, shoes, bags, stuff
- If you bought something but not using it, either due lack of interest or wrong purchase, get rid of it.
- If you get a gift that you know you are not going to use, get rid of it.
- If you haven’t used it in 6 months, get rid of it.
- Only keep stuff that’s essential, makes life easier, or inspires you. Get rid of everything else.
- When getting rid of anything, try to sell or give away to somebody who can make use of it or recycle. Trash bin should be the last option.
- Unless you can’t live without the touch and smell of physical books, go digital. There’s a long list of pros and cons, but I only buy ebooks and only read on my iPad.
- Covert all important documents, photo and videos into digital copies and put them all on Dropbox or iCloud. In my recent round, I took photos of loads of ‘emotional-value objects’ and threw them all out. These included large photo frames, desk gifts, crystals, accessories and more… all with thank-you notes, names, or messages printed/engraved on them. These were in a large box, which I don’t have any more!
- I’ve stopped using notebooks or diaries and pens for a long time. All notes are digital.
Learn to live with less
- So what do I have in that suitcase? Clothes: formal, casual, summer, winter, gym and swimming gear. Shoes: just two pairs. Gadgets: MacBook, iPad, cables. Lots of socks and underwear; last few copies of my book to give away; pack of business cards; travel toiletries in mini sizes; travel adaptors. No ties, accessories, notebooks, stationery or camera.
- Living with less inspires gratefulness; helps you keep organized; reduces stress; gets you more focused… is extremely easy to pack and move and unpack!
I know it’s easier said than done. I understand this may not be for everyone. I am sure there are people who can be happier with more, but for me, less stuff equals more happiness. I am happy to answer any questions and offer further advice to anyone who is starting on this journey or wants to get to the next level of minimalism.