How to reduce the impact of stuff on your life
Let’s face it! We love stuff! Most Americans are always looking out for the next thing to add to our life to make it better. We think a new kitchen appliance will improve our cooking abilities. We want the latest movie release to put in our collection. We are always on the hunt for the newest gadget to use for our yard and in the garage.
Don’t get me wrong. I love stuff too. I love going to thrift stores to find treasures and there’s no way I’ll pass a yard sale without stopping to look for something amazing. I’ve even got boxes of great stuff that I am saving for the next season of my life.
But what does this stuff do for the quality of our lives?
In the short-term, the stuff doesn’t seem to have a negative impact. We enjoy it for a while, then put it in a closet or under a cabinet. But what happens over the course of 20, 40 or 50 years? That special stuff that we wanted so badly often ends up broken, chipped, dusty and forgotten.
How can we lower the impact of all of that stuff for our lives now and for the future?
Practice an In and out rule
When you bring something new into your house then something old must go out. Example: Did you buy a souvenir coffee cup on vacation? Look through your cabinets and find one old coffee cup that you can get rid of. Did you find a new book at the library book sale? Look at your book shelf and find a book you are done with and donate it.
Don’t buy stuff just because it’s a good price.
Here’s a real life example: I love to shop at Burkes outlet. If you shop at the right time you find clothes for less than a dollar. Recently I went to my closet and found at least a dozen of pieces of clothes that I got for a really good price. They seemed like such a good deal at the time, but now 6 months later, they still have the tags on them. What good does that do me? It just clutters my closet and makes me realize that I wasted money. This past week I cleaned all those items out and took them to the thrift store. They may have been a good price, but they were not a wise purchase.
Keep a box in your garage for donations
If something is too good to throw away but you no longer need it, put it in your donation box. When the box is full, take it to a thrift store or donate for recycling. If it’s not good enough to donate, throw it away!
Get rid of paper clutter. Most of us have file cabinets stuffed with papers, tax documents, receipts and special cards from birthdays. But if we can’t find the files we need, we just have a mess. Start with one file at a time. Designate 15 minutes a day to clean out something small. If it’s something you need to keep, then file it in a way that you can find it later. If it’s not necessary or helpful to your life, then shred or dispose.
Stuff is great when it’s under control. There’s nothing better than having your house feel like a home. But when stuff begins to control our lives, its time to stop and make some changes.
How do you reduce the impact of stuff in your life? I’d love to hear!