Before we get into the details and all the nitty-gritty of decluttering, I want you to know that the process can seem very difficult at first. If you’ve been reading my posts up to this point, you’ve probably acknowledged that you have too much stuff, and maybe you can’t wait to get started – if so, that’s great – but know that at some point you’re likely to meet a wall of resistance and feel overwhelmed. Minimalism is a lifestyle choice, and it’s not just your clutter that you will be dealing with, but your whole mindset.
Once you feel the journey becoming difficult ,don’t despair. It will get easier, and it’s completely natural to experience those feelings. We’ve spent our whole lives being convinced by companies and advertisers that we need more,bigger, better, newer and shinier to be happy, when what we really crave, are satisfying moments, relationships, careers, and experiences. Most of society is sold on the idea of happiness and success being a bigger house and a posher car…all in the pursuit of storing and acquiring even more stuff. When does it stop?
Many years ago, I saw a TV program (that I can’t remember the name of) which was showing the lives of people who were rich enough to afford gold-encrusted toilets and gold-flecked perfumes. Some had priceless works of art. The kicker? Most of these people were more miserable than some of the poorest people I know.
As long as your belief remains grounded in material objects being the key to satisfaction, the mission won’t ever end. It’s like eating a slice of gooey chocolate cake: you’re satisfied for all of half an hour and then the lingering aftertaste has gone and you want more. There will always be a bigger house, a smarter phone, a better gadget, a shinier car, a new craze, a newer fashion trend, and a sale on ‘must have’ items. Always.
Let’s admit it, keeping up with all that is not only a permanent leak in the wallet, but exhausting to keep up with, which ultimately leads to feelings of emptiness and intense dissatisfaction in the long-run. Sometimes, it can even cause feelings of guilt which leads to you desperately trying to justify your latest purchases to others – I’ve been there. Chasing happiness through material goods is a vicious circle. A never-ending sprint up a backwards escalator. You see, happiness doesn’t start with what’s in your wardrobe, but what’s inside you.
Because our possessions are so often entrenched in our emotions and core beliefs, before you start the decluttering process, I want you to clear your mind and think about your buying habits and the items you already own. What caused you to hold onto all your stuff in the first place? If you find yourself always buying more stuff, think about what it is and why? Do you really need it? How does it make you feel afterwards? And the most important question of all: Why do you want to change? I recommend writing it all down and letting your mind go as free as a butterfly. Nobody has to see it but you. Your ‘why’ is so important to understand in anything that you choose to pursue in life because without it, there’s no strong motivation and you will find yourself giving up before you’ve even started.
In upcoming posts I will finally get down to talking about the decluttering process itself, and you will learn how to let go, as well as how to cope with sentimental objects, and how to live with someone else’s clutter. I’ve been there, so I will be with you all the way.