It may seem counterintuitive, but by having less in your life, it allows your life to become more. What kind of less are we referring to? Having less things.
“The things you own, end up owning you.”
– Tyler Durden (Fight Club)
While the comfort zone of how many possessions you have and what type of possessions you need is going to vary for everyone, in the United States, most of us have too much stuff.
“Everybody’s gotta have a little place for their stuff. That’s all life is about. Trying to find a place for your stuff.”
— George Carlin
Worrying about our stuff and where to keep it is one of modern life’s greatest challenges. If you have more stuff, you need more square footage in your real estate to keep your stuff. If you don’t have more square footage available where you reside, you may need to rent storage space in order to hang on to your stuff.
Depending on the value of what you own, you may need a security system and insurance to protect your stuff. So besides the initial investment you made to purchase your stuff, there is the continual investment to protect it. Over a number of years, the amount you can spend protecting your stuff can add up to a pretty big chunk of change.
When you have to move, the more you have the more it’s going to cost you to move. It takes more boxes, more supplies, a larger truck, more able-bodied people, more time and labor.
Depending how far you are moving, sometimes it’s less expensive to let go of furniture and certain household items and replace them, rather than pay the cost of moving them.
The truth is, all of us probably have way more than we need. When we let go of stuff we never use, the feeling can be absolutely liberating. When the stuff we don’t use is gone, it’s something we will no longer have to worry about, and probably will never miss.
If you still have music on vinyl, cassette or CD you can let these media formats go. You can transfer your whole music collection into digital form and store it on a USB stick that will fit in your pocket.
Replacing your paperback and hardcover books with digital versions on Kindle or iPad will remove an incredible amount of bulk and weight from your belongings.
Depending on what kind of business you are in, a guy may only need 5 pairs of dress slacks and shirts. 1-2 good suits. 2-4 good ties. 2-3 pairs of jeans, 2-3 pairs of shorts, a heavy winter jacket, a light coat, a few pairs of dress socks, a few pairs of exercise socks, a week’s worth of clean underwear, a couple pairs of athletic shoes (that includes one good pair of running shoes), 1-2 pairs of dress shoes, one sweatshirt, one pair of sweatpants, swimming trunks, tank top, a couple of hats and you’re pretty much set.
The list is pretty much the same for women, with the exception of dresses instead of slacks/dress shirts.
Take a serious look at your furniture collection… Are you really using everything you own? If not – jettison what you don’t use. You may have extra furniture to allow for seating of several extra guests, but if you rarely entertain… It doesn’t make sense to hold onto it for something that is used once per year.
If you eliminate things like CD/record collections and book collections, you can let go of shelving that was previously used to store such items.
Take a look around your closets, attic, basement, storage areas and your garage. Look at the items you have stored and think about how often you actually use them.
Anything you haven’t used in a year can go. Anything you use once or twice per year can go as well. Anything you don’t use at least once every 3 months can probably go also.
Unless you are operating a museum, being a collector is only going to cause you to accumulate too much stuff. It’s time to free yourself from that. The accumulation of material goods ultimately costs you much more than the cost of the goods themselves. With less stuff, you have less worry about losing your stuff and less stuff to maintain.
You can use the money you save on staff to allow you to travel or have more experiences… Or you can simply put more money in the bank. With your belongings, you can live in a smaller place, which will cost you less money. Less stuff will allow you to have more in other areas of your life.