In today’s world most of us own more possessions than we’re ever likely to need.
It’s believed that the average Brit currently owns 53 items of unworn clothing, 36 CDs and DVDs that are never played, and seven pairs of unwanted shoes. In fact, our neglected footwear would cover 29.430 miles – way over the 24,901 miles along the equator!
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg-geographical phenomena aside!
But there’s a growing realisation that instead of enriching our lives, accumulating vast amounts of ‘stuff’ actually complicates them-essentially we become weighed down by it all. Champions of minimalist living have learned through experience that tackling the issue can led to better organisation, less stress and a greater tendency to focus on the opportunities that come our way.
Many minimalists have come to the realisation that having more ‘stuff’ doesn’t make us happy. In fact, many believes that in the long term it does the exact opposite and makes us considerably unhappy. What’s more, this view is backed up by research papers which conclude that higher levels of wellbeing are associated with people who are less focused on material possessions.
So, how do we go about turning things around? After all, we may well be attempting to change the habit of a lifetime!
Senior Waste Removals, the North West’s leading waste removal company know a thing or two about decluttering. We’ve put together our top tips to stop our belongings from taking over:
Step one: Buy less stuff in the first place!
When it comes to retail therapy, we’ve all been guilty of giving in to temptation and going overboard with our purchases. But did we really need more than one pair of new shoes on the same day or yet another set of cushions to liven up the living room?
The convenience of online shopping and next-day delivery mean that we can all too easily to find ourselves ‘sucked in’ to the cycle of consumerism . In fact, some studies indicate that we consume twice as many material goods today as we did fifty years ago – that’s pretty eyewatering!
Step Two: Donate to Charity
To help focus the mind as the process of learning to live with less begins, imagine a fire raging through the house-dramatic though that may sound. In that scenario (in which family are already safe), what few material possessions would we save with just moments to spare?
Does that change our perspective in terms of which things we truly value-and not necessarily in terms of their financial worth?
Donating to charity is a fantastic way of relieving ourselves of unnecessary stuff. Not only does the charity benefit but the life of those items is prolonged by keeping them out of landfill.
Step Three: Recycle
With greater recycling options open to us today, we can dispense with the things we no longer require confident in the knowledge that they will be ethically processed according to industry guidelines. And at Senior Waste removals, 90 per cent of what we remove from homes, gardens and other premises is recycled.
Of course, minimalists in the making also have the option to pass items on to others who may well breathe new life into say, our pre-loved clothes or furniture, by choosing to upcycle them.
Step Four: Visualise Having More Space
There are lots of strategies to help us approach a more minimalist lifestyle. Taking a photo of one area of our home that’s especially cluttered, maybe a kitchen worktop for example, then removing the offending paraphernalia before taking a second picture to compare it with can help us focus on the potentially transformative effect that editing out the non-essentials from the essentials can have. Before and After images really can galvanise us into action!
Step Five: Hire a Professional Declutterer
Ok, this is likely to be a last resort but if you’re completely overwhelmed by the task at hand then it’s possibly an option to consider.
Rachel Burditt is a professional declutterer whose role is to support would-be minimalists struggling with exactly this problem. She describes helping one particular client who used her dining room as an extension of her wardrobe meaning that there were clothes and accessories everywhere leaving no space to use it for its intended purpose. After Rachel’s input, the family no longer had to eat dinner on their laps seated in various rooms around the house but were able to enjoy their meals together around their brand new table in their clutter-free dining room.
Sometimes there comes a point where the need to change our habits can no longer be ignored.
Finding ourselves in danger of being taken over by our possessions is just such a wake-up call.
And Rachel Burditt has some useful advice on the subject-she says that when we organise our physical space we are also clearing out the stress that comes with living around clutter.
She adds, “ I have seen first hand how much people’s lives can improve when they declutter their homes – it is so much more than just a quick tidy up. It is a way of life.”