What if your living space was clutter-free? What if your car, your desk, your kitchen, and your phone contained only things you needed or used every day? Maybe you’re thinking: “I’m a pretty clutter-free person, I don’t want to read this.” That’s perfectly fine. I thought I was a clutter-free person, too . . . until I realized I wasn’t. But I learned a lot, and today I hope to pass some of that on to you.
I want to start by saying that I am not (and never have been) someone who collects clutter. If you asked my mother, she would laugh and say otherwise, but it’s true. Even those times when my room was filled with junk, it was organized junk. Everything had its place, even the things I never seemed to use.
Fast-forward to about six months ago, when I stumbled across a book called The More of Less. I thought it was about entrepreneurship, so I downloaded the audio version and started to listen. As I listened, I realized it wasn’t about business at all, but about minimalism. It talked about removing unecessary things (and people) from your life so you can focus on what’s truly important.
This led me to spend nearly a month engrossed in blogs, podcasts, interviews, and articles. I tried to learn as much about minimalism as I could. About three weeks into the process, I got out some boxes and started making Goodwill and trash piles. Everything I didn’t need was either donated or (if I couldn’t find someone else who would get some use out of it) thrown out. It felt great, and I ended up getting rid of half the stuff I owned.
Now fast-forward another six months. In that time, I’d been donating steadily (about a backpack’s worth of stuff per month). But my apartment still felt cluttered. So I started this week by doing another purge. I took everything I owned and laid it out. If I didn’t use it every day or every other day, it went in the trash, a donation box, or to a friend I knew would use it. I also started participating in project 333, which is genius (I’ll put the link to it at the end of this post if you’re interested). And in the past week, I have managed to get rid of another two thirds of my stuff. I now only own two collared shirts and four t-shirts, two pairs of pants and four pairs of shoes . . . you get the idea.
Of course, I’m not writing this to brag about how few things I own, nor to say that you should get rid of 80% of your stuff, too. What I’m trying to say is that I use everything in my apartment every day. Of course, there are things like my ruler, a football, a sleeping bag, and so on that I only use every now and then. But everything (even these seasonal items) serves a purpose or adds value to my life.
And when I think ‘clutter-free’, I think of a room where everything serves a functional purpose or brings me joy. There are no duplicates, no extras, no trinkets, no pictures hidden away in drawers, and no books that I don’t read or movies I don’t watch.
So the next time you declutter, my sincere advice is this: don’t focus on getting rid of the junk. Focus on which things add value to your life day in and day out. If you do this, it will be easy to get rid of the trinkets and knick-knacks.
Project 333 (from the great Courtney Carver): https://bemorewithless.com/project-333/