The other day, I was talking with my friend Laura who was feeling extremely overwhelmed with how much stuff she had to pack before her impending move to Portland with her new hubby. I told her (half-joking) that she should just donate whatever she didn’t have time to pack. Well, she did it! Way to go friend!
It is interesting how, when faced with the task of packing, unpacking and reorganizing everything you own, the value of ones possession really gets put into perspective. When I was moving my stuff into was would be Devin and my apartment, I was faced with this challenge. This was to be my eighth move in five and a half years and I was fed up with moving boxes and boxes of things I didn’t really need.
At this time, the question was raised in my own mind: If my desire to not pack these items outweighs my need for them, then why do I even have them in the first place? It was a real eye-opener to me about the value (or lack there of) of many of the things I own.
After my purge earlier this month and my conversation with Laura, I was inspired to construct the following list.
Five Simple Ways to Simplify Possessions
1) Each season, as you are storing away your tank tops or sweaters, ask yourself, “Did I even wear this during the past season?” If you haven’t worn it in that many months, you’re probably not going to wear it again. Donate it rather than taking the time and space to pack it up again.
2) If, after downsizing your wardrobe, you are taunted by all the empty hangers begging you to buy more clothes you don’t need – store the hangers out of site and spread your clothes out along the closet rod. Once your closet doesn’t appear to be lacking clothes, you might be less tempted to buy more.
3) When purging your closets, storage areas, etc during a “Spring Clean” you’re bound to have a few items that your not sure if you should keep or not. Put all of these items in a box – duct tape it shut and label it with a date in the near distant future (six months, a year). If you have not torn open the box in that amount of time, you likely don’t need what is inside and it can be tossed or donated.
4) If you are overwhelmed with all the areas of your home that might need to be de-cluttered, start with one small area – one kitchen drawer, one shoe box, one shelf. Try and set a goal for de-cluttering one of these areas during a certain time period (i.e. One area per week.)
5) This next one is my favorite: A master plan that I devised and hope to incorporate into my life when we have kids: Have a large sack or garbage bag set aside for the following scenario: If the kids don’t pick up their toys when asked, confiscate the item and place it in “the big black bag.” If the child wishes the item returned, he/she must “buy” it back through extra chores (wash the car, pick weeds, etc). Every two months or so, donate the contents of the bag to charity. The kiddos will have more motivation to “earn” their possession back if they know they’ll soon be donated. Or, if the child doesn’t show incentive to get back the item, that will be a clear indicator that they didn’t need that thing in the first place. It would be a great teaching opportunity for the child in regards to stewardship, contentment, valuing what we do have and living simply.
Q4U: What helpful tips do you have on simplifying and de-cluttering possessions?