Despite paring down my possessions once or twice a year for at least the past eight years, including through six moves, I still often look around my house and feel like it is just too cluttered. Too many knick-knacks means more to dust, too many surfaces to collect things means more time tidying when preparing for company, and all of this adds up to unnecessary stress. I sometimes look at the white, bright, semi-sparse home decor photos trending on Pinterest or in magazine articles and think about how relaxing it would be to live in a more simply furnished, emptier space.
I’ve written before about my struggles with decluttering and owning too much stuff, and guest poster Courtney has shared her journey toward living with less, along with some great tips and inspiration. The mood to declutter tends to strike me around January, both because of the symbolic fresh start of the new year and because I spend more time at home in the winter months. So when I was invited to join a decluttering Facebook group and shortly thereafter heard of a 30-day decluttering challenge originally proposed by the Minimalists, I was motivated to once again assess my belongings and get rid of what wasn’t serving me.
”Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.”
—Nathan W. Morris
Americans produce a staggering amount of waste. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, in 2013, we collectively produced 254 million tons of trash, an average of about 4.4 pounds per person per day. (That’s much higher than the global average, though other wealthy, developed countries aren’t far behind.) The upside is that we recycled and composted about 34% of that waste, but that still left a lot of trash headed to landfills or scattered as litter. There are about 2,000 active landfills in the US, and simple math leads to the conclusion that we will at some point run out of space for all of our trash. In addition, properly managing municipal waste is expensive, and both landfills and incineration can pose serious environmental and health concerns. Moreover, think about all the resources we are wasting by throwing so many things away rather than using them to their fullest potential.
“One of the advantages of being born in an affluent society is that if one has any intelligence at all, one will realize that having more and more won’t solve the problem, and happiness does not lie in possessions, or even relationships: The answer lies within ourselves. If we can’t find peace and happiness there, it’s not going to come from the outside.”
Today’s post was written by Courtney Miller. Courtney is a Financial Analyst from South Central Pennsylvania. In her free time, she is the Vice President of Internal Affairs for a local nonprofit, Animal Advocates of South Central PA. She also likes to travel and eat too much food. Thanks for sharing your story and tips with us, Courtney!
Decluttering, KonMari Method, tiny homes, capsule wardrobes… These terms have been trending lately, and with good reason. Actually, many good reasons. How often have you misplaced something and spent more time searching for it than you’d like to admit? Maybe you’ve looked “everywhere” and couldn’t find it. It got lost somewhere among your stuff. How much time have you spent organizing, dusting, and cleaning your stuff? Or bought something and had to “make room” for it?
How much stuff in our lives is necessary? How much of it do we actually use? Do you ever ask yourself, “Why do I even have this thing?” You’re not alone.