Do you ever feel like life is chaotic? Does it feel like your schedule is packed and you’re always on the run? I’m a single dad with a full-time job. I know how you feel. There’s a way to unclutter your life. It starts at home.
Two things have helped me to become a minimalist: moving and living in small spaces. When I first graduated college I did what everybody does. I rented a bigger house and filled it up with stuff. Then I was offered a job 2000 miles away. I moved all that stuff. What a pain in the butt! I needed to unclutter.
Over the next few years, I’d make two more long-distance moves. With each move I began to get rid of things. It took me back to my pre-college days when I was struggling to make ends meet and living in a travel trailer. I learned something from living in a trailer.
Unclutter Your Space, Unclutter Your Life
Living in a small space requires discipline. When I lived in a trailer throughout much of my 20s, I only owned a few things. I had to pare down to the bare necessities:
- Five sets of clothes
- Two pairs of shoes
- A few kitchen utensils
- A portable stereo
- A few dozen cassettes
- A dozen books
- A guitar
- A bicycle
I had a few other possessions, but those were the basics. I learned that living in a small space required keeping things neat. If you left stuff strewn about, you had no room to move. Small-space living forced me to unclutter.
Here’s the problem. In America, we’re a culture that believes we always need more. In the end, more leads to clutter, which leads to feelings of crowdedness and anxiety. You may have a neat home. But if you’re like most Americans, you have things stuffed into every nook and cranny. I’ve made an intentional effort to minimize the amount of stuff I own, to unclutter. Here’s how:
How To Unclutter
- Regular cleaning: Keep your home clean. You don’t have to be a neat freak. Just clean up the daily clutter as you go. Recycle what you can and throw little away. I make little garbage because I use very little. Only buy and keep what is essential. Let the rest go. Unclutter.
- Critical inventory: Go through your basement, garage and closets three or four times a year. Question the things you are storing. If you haven’t used something for over six months, consider letting it go. You will feel better when you unclutter. A weight will be lifted.
- Give it away: When I no longer use or need an item, it makes sense to let it go. Someone else can use it. By letting your unneeded things go, you are helping others.
- Don’t buy what you don’t need: This is the hardest lesson to learn. Often, we give things away only to buy more later. I’ve learned to think about my purchases. Do I really need that new do-dad? Is it essential? Ask yourself. If the answer is no, why do you want to buy? Is it habit? Is it addiction? You must think critically before you buy. Buy less.
- Spend more time outside: Spending time outside allows you to breathe the air. Walk in open spaces. Welcome openness. Study the sky. Learn from nature. I live in the desert. The desert is not cluttered.
When we learn to unclutter our homes, we find freedom. When our homes are tidy and spacious, our lives follow suit. Living a more simple and peaceful life starts with daily habits. Clean regularly and let go of the things you don’t need.
I used to own more than 1000 CDs. I couldn’t listen to them all. I slowly began to sell and give them away. I have less than 100 CDs now. I don’t miss the ones I gave away. I narrowed my collection down to the very best. I do this with books and other belongings, too. It helps to unclutter my life.
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Hip Diggs is teaming up with Wendy Williams, The Cleanup Queen. Check out The Cleanup Queen’s Facebook Page with links to great tips and videos to help you keep your space clean.
Unclutter your space, unclutter your life.