It’s no secret that we are a society of consumers and collectors, but living a simpler life has been proven to bring more peace and joy. So why is it that we just can’t let go of all our stuff? Why is it that we just keep buying? And then keep on working for the buying?
Here’s 6 reasons why, and why we gotta stop.
1. We don’t want to be wasteful
We think of getting rid of things as being wasteful. We keep food in the fridge longer than we should because we don’t want to be wasteful. We keep outfits we’ve never worn because we don’t want to be wasteful. We keep the ten million nail polish bottles we have because we don’t want to be wasteful. But the truth is that by keeping these items, we are wasting the items even more, and the items are wasting so much more of us! They are wasting our space; they are wasting our time re-organizing to make them fit in our space; they are wasting mental and emotional energy it takes to keep track of these extra items because they’re wasting our space – you get the idea here.
2. We feel bad
Someone special gave us something, and we feel bad returning it, regifting it, giving it away or selling it. The truth is, once someone gives you something, it has served its purpose. The gesture of giving the item to you was the purpose – it made you happy, it made them happy, everybody’s happy, and the item’s job is done! It’s yours now to do as you need. Don’t keep something just because you feel bad.
3. We want our stuff to serve a meaningful purpose
I hear it all the time. I myself do it! If we’re going to get rid of our stuff, we want it to mean something. We want to give it to someone who needs it. And if we can’t find the right candidate, we keep it. But in reality, eventually no matter where we donate the item, the item will find someone who needs it and uses it.
4. We don’t have time
We’re all so busy doing everything we need to do, we don’t even have the time to think about looking around and realizing that a majority of the stuff around us is just causing us chaos. Just like you schedule a doctor’s appointment for your kid, it’s important for you to schedule time to get organized, and if you don’t have it, then it might be worth it to schedule a professional to help you.
5. We think our things are too valuable to just get rid of them
Maybe it’s a designer purse. Maybe it’s an expensive coat. Maybe it’s a family heirloom. If no one’s buying it for the price you want to sell it, then maybe unfortunately it’s just not worth that much, and it’s not worth storing it until you find someone willing to pay the price, because in the meantime, you’re paying the price of clutter – which can cost you a whole lot more. Unfortunately, most new goods lose a ton of their value as soon as you buy them – all electronics, designer apparel, cars, furniture, you name it. They all are worth at least 10% as soon as you buy them and use them. If you want to cut on the waste and your carbon footprint, start being okay with maybe rescuing someone else’s stuff and spending on used instead!
6. The clearance section
IT’S JUST TOO GOOD A DEAL TO PASS UP! I GOTTA BUY TEN! I used to do this too. Any store I went, I’d walk right into the clearance section and – GASP! “It’s only $4 bucks! I might as well get it! Heck I’ll get it in every color!” But do you love it? Will you use it? How easy will it be to get rid of it (Many of our large items will require us to spend more money to get rid of them than it was for us to buy them – crazy!)? How much space will ten of those bulk discounted cleaning supply bottles take up in your cupboard? How much are you going to need to step on a stool and stretch to find what you need behind them? Is it worth it?
Letting go and getting space can truly bring on peace, joy, and just mental clarity. For a little help on getting started, check out The Joy of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, or watch her series on Netflix, and when you’re really ready to dig deep, head on over to theminimalists.com