Do you have too much stuff?

Really think before you answer.  You might say no, but is your desk covered in papers?  Do miscellaneous items find themselves on your dresser, coffee table or kitchen counter? Do you have items that really have no home? I do.  I have so much crap I don’t know where to put it all. I purge and purge, and still, there is more.  I have so many things, that I have to get more containers to hold all of my things. I want it all gone!

How did I get to this place that seeks the zen of no clutter? Well, I went to a friends house a couple of weeks ago and noticed she just had the bare essentials.  At first I thought it was one of those instances where you have a nice apartment but cant afford to put anything in it.  But she drives a nice car, and wears nice clothes. So the not being able to afford things, isn’t the issue.

Truth be told, there was nothing lacking about her place. When I was there I was so relaxed; I felt great.  I didn’t realize this at the time, but I didn’t want to go back to my house with all of the crap in it.  Then, I started thinking. Maybe I’ve been going about shopping all wrong. By having tons of clothes, shoes, purses and zillions of other options, I should feel great. But I really don’t.

I got to this cluttered lifestyle with one rule. I wouldn’t buy anything if it cost me more than 20 bucks. Well following that rule has left me with tons of things. However, lots of things that aren’t worth sh*t. Maybe I would like my stuff better if I bought higher quality stuff, and less of it.  I’m always buying stuff, because I loose things, or I forget things.  Its probably because I have too much crap to being with.

I found this essay by Paul Graham, entitled Stuff. He’s got a great point about having too much stuff.  So just like that,  I decided that I’m just going to stop spending money. (Except for bills and food, and other necessities.)

Today for example.  I wanted to buy silly bandz.  You know, those colored rubber bands shaped like animals or other objects.  WTF is wrong with me. I’m 24 years old, almost 25 and I wanted silly bands. And those d*mn silly bandz cost 4 or 5 bucks.  Buying crap like that is the reason why I have so much junk all over my house.

So what should you do if you have too much crap? Here’s my no-nonsense guide:

  1. Make a clutter clearing plan. Break it down into steps.  If you don’t, you’ll get overwhelmed and give up.  I did my closet first.
  2. If you don’t use it, get rid of it, preferably by donation. Don’t sell it unless its really expensive.   Selling on ebay, craigslist or wherever takes too freaking long. Yes, you’ve spent your hard earned money on that crap, and it’s probably worth more to you out of the house.
  3. If you have more than one of the item in question, get rid of it.
  4. Stop buying things. Don’t buy anything unless it is a necessity, i.e. food. Take a break from buying until you have space in your life to figure out what “things” you really want, and really need.
  5. Detach your credit card from Amazon.com, and other online shopping websites.  If you have to type the number in every time, you may hesitate long enough to stop yourself.
  6. Spend your money on experiences, things you are going to use.  In other words, think, before you spend.

Thank you to SimpleMom, and Get Rich Slowly for tips, ideas and information. Check it out.

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