Time To Declutter My Life!
It’s time to get rid of some of the crap in my house. I was looking around the other day and noticed the amount of clutter has built up to an uncomfortable level. I’m not sure how I let it get this bad in first place. I mean, do I really need the 7 different surfboards stored in our spare room?
Actually, it gets worse, I have an additional 3 surf boards stored at my wife’s parents house! So that’s 10 surfboards total, for only one person. I am an idiot. Even professional surfers only surf 1 board at a time, except maybe this guy.
Anyway, out of my 10 boards, I really only regularly use 1 of them. It’s a ‘hybrid’ board that’s rideable in almost all surf conditions. I keep telling myself that I’ll use the others someday, but I never actually do. I always end up riding the ol’ faithful. Also, I find it’s easier to just use the same board all the time because I know exactly how it’s going to ride.
So, why keep the others? Why have 10, when 1 will do?
It starts with wanting more options…
I think it’s natural for people to want more options in life. Especially for the things they enjoy.
When I was buying each of these surfboards, I thought each one would enhance my experience by adding different size/shape boards to my quiver. I thought it would make my hobby more fun for me. Not everyone gets to choose from 10 different boards every time they surf… I guess I thought the more boards I have, the luckier I am. The richer I am.
But, here’s the issue:
“With more options comes more decisions…”
…And more decisions in life is the exact opposite of what I’m trying to accomplish.
Reducing “Clutter” Reduces Decisions:
As the amount of decisions grow and get more complex, our minds cope by taking shortcuts and being lazy. This is the reason I use the same board every time I go surfing. It’s just easier. It’s less stressful. Declutter wins.
Owning multiple sets of the same thing doesn’t just apply to sporting goods and hobby equipment. After a quick scan around my house here are some of the duplicates I found:
- 8 yoga mats (wife only uses 1)
- 10 bottle openers (only use 1)
- 4 cheese graters (don’t even eat much cheese)
- 3 sets of silverware (we only use 1 set)
- 38 Mugs (max. we use is maybe 6 at a time when guests come around. Other than that, I only use my favorite 2-3 mugs)
- 56 x T-shirts in my closet (I only really cycle through about 15 of them regularly)
- The list goes on and on!
Over the next few months I plan to get rid of as much as I can in my house. Craigslist, eBay, or Goodwill… it’s all gotta go. (Or re-gift everything to others :))
Sure, we might miss some stuff. There might be times when something breaks and we wish we had a spare. But my guess is we will survive just fine. Our lives will be just as happy, if not happier than before.
“Less decisions, less clutter, less stress”
Other Reasons Why I Have So Much Crap:
There are a few other reasons why I think my wife and I have accumulated multiple sets of the same thing…
- Because we have space for it.
- Because we can afford it.
Well, looking back, both of these reasons are complete BS. We don’t have space, and can’t afford it. These are just lies we’ve told our self so we can feel better about having and buying more stuff.
The truth is, we should cut down on our ‘space’ footprint. We live in a 2 bedroom place and only need 1 room. And if we want to retire early in life, we definitely can’t afford to keep collecting ‘stuff’.
I have a theory: The bigger your house is, the more crap you collect.
Before moving to our current house, my wife and I lived in a very small studio apartment. We kept it neat and clean and only brought home the necessary stuff. We simply didn’t have space to store more. Then when we moved into our larger 2 bedroom place, we over time started to collect more.
And my guess is if we continue on like average Americans, we would eventually upgrade to a 3, then 4, then 5 bedroom house and fill it all with crap.
I know many people like this. Do you agree?
Moving Forward: How to Maintain the Declutter.
So, moving forward, how am I gonna keep from growing the clutter back up? I can think of a few methods:
1) Have an Annual Spring Cleaning:
Let’s say my wife and I brought home an average of two ‘things’ per day for a full year. Some would be small like a pen or a magnet we got for free somewhere. Some would be larger items like a small chair or lamp we picked up at a garage sale or something. Anyway, at the end of 12 months we would have a total of 730 new, unnecessary ‘things’ to get rid of.
I can only imagine it would take an entire weekend, if not longer, to clean out and remove the 730 things. We would then lead a less cluttered, less stressful life for a few days, before the building started all over again.
2) Institute a “One In / One Out” Policy.
Whenever we bring home something new that we like, we throw out a similar or equally unnecessary old item.
“Out with the old, in with the new!”
The second method would be hard to get used to at first, but eventually it would just become our new lifestyle. We would think twice before picking up any new thing and bringing it home. We would constantly live in a clean and uncluttered house. There would be no annual cleaning, no large cleanup days, and no build up of crap we can’t even remember getting in the first place.
Conclusion: I think I’ll institute the 1 in / 1 out policy. 🙂
I’m curious… How do you keep your place clean? Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?