It’s easy if you do it right…
For some reason we have a tendency to hang on to things even when we know we don’t really need them. But those who have embraced minimalism know the feeling of relief and freedom attained by detaching yourself from “stuff”.
The biggest key to decluttering is to stop it at the source. It’s crazy how easy it is to accumulate stuff you don’t need and it’s even crazier how hard it is to get rid of.
In my decluttering I find it most helpful not to concentrate on stuff. Instead, focus on the habits we have that cause us to accumulate stuff. If you change your habits, denying and decluttering meaningless things will become second nature and you won’t even need to think about.
So here we go…
If you aren’t willing to start today, you won’t be willing to start tomorrow. The first step is a baby step, so starting today is no biggy.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Drastically changing anything in your life is really hard and therefore the result is a cycle of intense dedication followed by failure to reach your goals. Example: gym memberships of the new year. Changing at a manageable pace will take longer, but you’re much more likely to succeed in reaching your goal.
Remind yourself that this transition isn’t going to happen overnight. Take baby steps and you’ll see how far you’ve come after a few months. If you want to go nuts and clean out your whole house in one weekend that’s fine. If you want to do a room every weekend, that’s fine too. Just remember that it’s more important to be consistent than aggressive.
We do a lot of things unconsciously and accumulating stuff is one of them. We pick up something here and something there, not noticing that our garage has slowly turned into a junkyard of sorts.
Tracking what you buy is one of the easiest ways to make yourself conscious about these decisions and it’s really simple. When you buy something write it down. This act will make you think about what you buy and when you do that you’re much more likely to make better decisions. Within a few weeks your shopping habits will change and you can leave the pen and pad behind.
Your Action Plan:
Get a box or a bag that you already have at your house. Find 5 things you can live without and put them in it. Do this every day after work or every Sunday before bed… whatever schedule works best for you. Set an alarm on your phone and spend 5 minutes a day/week getting rid of shit you don’t need.
When your box gets full, donate it and don’t look back. If you start rummaging through that box before you donate, you might second guess yourself and reclutter (yikes!).
Passively shut off the source
Get a small notebook and start carrying it with you. Write down everything you buy, whether it’s a stick of gum or a new car.
This will trigger you to think about everything you buy and in doing so will help you make conscious shopping decisions. After a few weeks you’ll have formed your new habit and you can ditch the pen and pad, but you should dedicate at least three weeks to tracking your purchases.
When tracking you’ll probably be shocked at the amount of stuff you buy and be pleasantly surprised with the money you’ve saved.
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