When my wife moved in with me last summer, it was a sudden life event that I was not ready for. For most of my adult life, I have lived alone although had roommates at various times. As my wife and I were planning for her to move into my 1-Bedroom apartment, this forced me to simplify the belongings in my life.
After years of collecting random personal property, it was time for a much needed clean-up! Before I started emptying out the apartment, I realized that removing clutter was more than just cleaning. Not only was I removing articles that were no longer needed, I was also simplifying my life. By owning less possessions, I am able to focus more of my energy on what is really important vs. the number of material things I own.
3 Steps I took to become less material:
- Believe that Less is More: In order to start the process, I had to believe in the process and principles first. No physical action is required, but understanding the “Less is More” attitude is vital to a life of simplicity. Ask yourself:
- What are the important things in life?
- Where am I now & Where do I desire to be?
- How will reducing material change my life?
Answering these questions will be a starting point & also the goals of how you want to achieve a simpler & happier life.
- Clean House, Sound Life: Now is the physical part…time to de-clutter the unnecessary things that have been building up at home. In my case, I only had an emotional attachment to only a few things at home, which made the cleaning process less daunting. If you find yourself holding on to more possessions, refer to the step above to focus on the important factors you established.
- One person’s trash is another person’s treasure: For the items you no longer need & still in good condition, consider donating to the Salvation Army/Goodwill/any other donation store.
- Pay it Forward: In addition to donating your belongings, ask a non-profit if they have any volunteer programs. If possible, donate your own time to a shelter, food bank, or other charitable organization – this will really put things in perspective to what is really important in life.
- Start a detailed budget: By documenting what you spend money on will help track
how much is being spent on various activities and possessions. I created a budget right after landing my first real job after college. Over all these years, I have been able to view how much & what percent of my income is being spent on. I could find out myself whether too much was being spent on clothes, entertainment, eating out, etc. By referring to the budget, instead of buying unnecessary things, I was able to save up funds for another use.
- BONUS: Repeat the steps as needed. Simplifying your life is a cycle, as there will be times when material things start building up again OR distractions that take you away from your focus. When these issues come up, just start the process over to get back on track.
Make Today > Yesterday