Clearing Out: Free Yourself from the Burden of Stuff and Embrace the Power of Minimalism with Simple Steps!
This is chapter 15 from the CHANGE JOURNAL », your journal for more clarity, productivity, and mindfulness in everyday life and at work.
Perhaps it’s because evolution made us hunters and gatherers. Maybe we succumb to the seduction of the consumer world and advertising — or both. The fact is, we collect piles of stuff during a lifetime: ballast, clutter, rubbish. And we lug it around with us — whether it helps us or not and whether we like it.
You don’t have to be a messie to realize it has become too much. Many of those useless things distract and even bother us. At the same time, we don’t seem to have a chance to change anything. You probably know the feeling.
All of this applies equally to material as well as emotional ballast. But differentiating the two is significant, as everything linked to the mental/emotional side is too complex for me to explain adequately to you in this context. The material stuff, though, all that junk lying around, can be gotten rid of easily — in a simple, systematic, efficient way by taking small steps.
Let’s start with a number. We own an average of 10,000 things. Bam! Wow. However, the exciting — or better said — logical question is: How many of those do you need?
In search for the answer, a radical approach has made American Dave Bruno famous. One day, he decided he didn’t want to own more than 100 things. He gave himself one year to clear out, sell, or give away his surplus stuff for free. Bruno’s book, “The 100 Thing Challenge,” documents how it worked, how liberating it was, how much time, money, and power he gained from this effort — and how he enjoyed doing without the other 9,900 things permanently.
We admit this is one seriously radical approach. However, Bruno showed that there is plenty to clear out among those 9,900 things we probably don’t need! Consequently, the templates from the CHANGE JOURNAL will help you get rid of something superfluous daily.
Let’s turn this into a little plan. Imagine what it would feel like to dispose of only 2 pounds (= 1 kg) every day. Within less than 18 months, that could amount to more than half a ton of dropped ballast.
On the following page, you will see an overview of the rooms you can systematically clear during your search.
“It is likely that we wouldn’t even miss having several thousand items less around the house.”
In addition, I have designed two individual templates to help you reach the annual target of reducing your ballast by 365 kg:
Loosely based on the idea of “The Streak,” dispose of at least 1 kg of unneeded stuff daily. You should try to do this for at least two consecutive months, as by then, it will likely become a new habit automatically!
You can also deduct the estimated weight of whatever you’re dumping from your target each time. Just keep throwing out until you’ve reached your goal. If you should manage to do this in bigger steps than one kilo per day, I won’t consider that cheating. ;)
Here are some guidelines for you:
Don’t count the usual daily kitchen waste.
Do count paper recycling.
Clothes you no longer wear also qualify if you dispose of, sell, or comp them. They count whenever they leave your household for good.
Whatever lands in flea market boxes only count half. That’s because we think that sorting out should also be rewarded. ;) You qualify for the other half as soon as the contents of the boxes are gone.
Simply moving stuff to the basement or other storage rooms does not count. ;)