Ok, I know that decluttering might not, at first glance, fall into the going green or saving money categories, which are the two primary focuses of this blog (along with “being happy”). But if you think about it for just a sec, it really does cover all three.
First, decluttering is green because the less you have, the smaller space you need to store it. And the less resources you have to use to heat, cool and maintain that extra space.
Decluttering also saves you money because you can sell all that stuff you don’t need. And the less you have, the less likely you are to spend money on more “stuff” to fill that space back up again.
It also makes you happy; when you have only things you use and love, you have more room to breathe. The things you own don’t own you.
I live a fairly minamalist lifestyle because having too many things just stresses me out. But I haven’t gotten myself down to that perfect level yet; I feel as if I still have too much “stuff”.
This is why I so admire Tammy over at RowdyKittens. She pared down her personal items so that she has fewer than 100 “things”. Personal items are things that she (and not her household) use like clothing, books, shoes, trinkets, etc. It does not include things like cooking pans, artwork, or furniture.
Can you imagine having fewer than 100 things? Well, I still can’t at this point, even though I’m trying to. I’ve been trimming and trimming, but have been stuck the past few weeks, unable to determine what else I could get rid of. I knew there was more that could go, but I just didn’t know what. How was I ever going to get down to 100 things at this rate?
And then Sunday morning, I had the supreme EUREKA! moment. I discovered an awesomely effective way to get rid of clutter.
The Paris Studio Method
It was one of those wonderfully lazy Sunday mornings. I was at my laptop, coffee in hand, dreaming of spending a month in a Paris studio apartment this winter (hey, I can dream!). I’d found an awesome site full of apartment rentals in Montematre I could actually afford (800 euro per month!), and I was browsing through them with sheer delight.
Isn’t this lovely? Can’t you just imagine being able to live in a little studio like this for a month (or three)?
Well, I sure could. A tiny place like this has everything I would need to be completely comfortable.
As I was browsing through all these tiny, colorful, perfect apartments, I felt myself growing a bit envious. These places had everything you needed, and nothing you didn’t. Each space was designed to take advantage of every square inch of space. Living in a space like this meant you’d have a super-small carbon footprint, and you wouldn’t be able to just go out and “buy” something without getting rid of something else in its place.
In a place this small, every item would have to be useful or supremely special.
I started looking around my own house. My stuff would never fit into one of those funky little studio apartments. Ever.
And that’s when it hit me.
My stuff would never fit into one of those funky studio apartments.
I started to get really excited because I realized this was how I was going to get unstuck in my decluttering. I would go through the house, pretending I really WAS about to move to a small studio apartment in Paris. It’s a dream of mine to do this, so the process was really exciting to think about.
The deciding question would be this: would I take this with me, or get rid of it? Did I love this thing enough to cart it across the Atlantic to Paris? Did I love it enough to pay the airport transport, and then haul it up 5 flights of stairs to my dream apartment?
Most of the time, that answer was “no”! And into the donation bin it went.
I went through the house like a madwoman. “I’m moving to Paris!” I shouted in my head. “Everything must go!”
God it was a lot of fun.
Words can’t even describe how well this technique worked for me. Take a look at everything I got rid of in a matter of a few hours. Keep in mind, I’ve been decluttering (off an on, of course) for months. I’d reached the stage where I couldn’t get rid of anything else. Or so I thought…
I could have kept going; the only reason I stopped was because I got tired.
Your Decluttering Game…
You can easily play this game in your own life. Do you dream of travelling somewhere to live for a few months? Do you dream of moving?
It doesn’t have to be Paris of course; it could be anywhere. Any situation that would cause you to have to pack up and move.
You can also declutter effectively by asking yourself this question: if my home was destroyed by fire (or flood, or whatever), would I miss this item? Would I even notice if it was gone?
You might be surprised at how often you’ll answer “no” to that question.
Like I said earlier, I’ve never had so much fun decluttering. And I’m planning on using this method again tonight to get rid of even more stuff.
I hope, if you’re in the process of decluttering (or if you’re thinking about it) you give this method a shot. I couldn’t believe what a difference it made!
How about you? Do you have any tips or strategies you use to get rid of stuff? I’d love to hear them!