Throughout this process, I have quickly learned that ‘stuff’ can be the enemy. By ‘stuff’, I mean the unnecessary things in life, the things we compulsively buy, convinced by advertisements and peer pressure.
More recently, I have became very good at getting rid of the stuff in my life that adds no value. I have a simple rule. If I don’t use it, I loose it.
For me, it was difficult to look at items I saw every day and make a pragmatic judgement on their necessity. Of course I need those display glasses, they’re on display. My CD rack full of CD’s played a role in framing my old front room. That rice pan clutters the big kitchen cupboard, but what if I need to make rice in the most convenient way.
The glasses gather dust and need careful cleaning, I never marvelled at their extravagant beauty nor ever admired their place. I very, very rarely eat rice. No, I don’t own a CD player.
I employed a system which helped me to development the mental ability to get rid of these items and more importantly, avoid buying more stuff I would never use.
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” – The fantastic words of Warren Buffet.
I started to look at the value of things, not the price. Does it add value to my life. Do I use it. What do i get from them. When I first started, a lot of the answers were “I don’t know, maybe? Probably. Someday”. This was just as dangerous as not even asking the question. Things can then linger around, being of no use to anyone.
I thought if these things were out of my view, out of my mind, I could then actually realise if I didn’t use them. I could then make a judgement based on fact and not ifs and buts. I cleared a space under my bed where these extraneous elements of life could relax for a short time, say 60 days.
A lot of the items I banished to the Neverwhere were not sought after in these 60 days. In fact, the only item that I saved from the depths of the under-bed-world was an old internet router to try when my current one was fried by a lighting strike to my apartment block. It didn’t work. Even the one item that could have had a use, was useless.
They were all disposed of. Charity donations, recycling and rubbish.
I started using this system about two years ago now, and I continue to use it. If I look at something and can’t immediately think of when I last used it, it goes under the bed and the timer starts ticking. 60 days and counting.
A lot of items that you could own for that just in case scenario don’t necessarily need to be owned.
Recently I considered buying a set of tools when I made my wood store. I needed a hammer and a saw. I could have went out and bought these, investing in the surety I would be carrying out DIY every week for the rest of my life, or just in case. I decided against this investment. I borrowed the items. That cost me nothing and also helped me engage with my Step Father about building and DIY. The project was a success and the tools returned to their rightful owner. Have I completed a project since? No.
The focus I have developed has been invaluable. Constantly questioning, and only adding value to my life.
I would love to know if any of you out there have any tips for staying clutter free and keeping only the valuable items in your life.