It’s inevitable that we accumulate material possessions. We need to be sheltered, clothed, fed, and nurtured, so we buy or rent a house or an apartment and fill it with furniture. We buy pots and pans so we can cook. We purchase clothes which will, at minimum, keep us protected from the elements. We purchase books that stimulate our mind.
Any or all of these ‘things’ can stack up, especially when we seek variety or prefer a surplus of any particular item. Or when something wears out and we need to replace it, we may get a newer model, but still hold onto the old…just in case. So how do we know what we really ‘need’ and what is really ‘essential’ to our daily existence?
I have a suggestion. Pretend you’re moving. Pretend you’re moving in 30 days. Throw everything you own into suitcases. Or put it in cardboard boxes. Keep only what you’re going to need for the next 30 days.
What will be left in your closet or in your drawers or in your kitchen or in your living room are only the basics. this might include your most versatile jacket, your warmest sweater, your two pair of go-to shoes, or the olive oil, pot, and skillet that you use most often, the book you’re reading right now.
The less useful, less liked, and less valuable items will be out of sight, and perhaps out of mind, at least for the moment.
Now, for one week, use only the things you haven’t packed away. See how your life feels with fewer choices, less clutter, and more space.
If you find that you really need something that you’ve packed away, pull it out and use it. If you can, put it back in the suitcase or the box after use. (Oh, and you may want to label those boxes or make a note about what went where in those suitcases.)
If you can go 30 days without needing or missing something, you can probably donate it to charity. Of course, seasonal clothing may be partially exempt from this exercise, thinking of winter coats or linen dresses. Books may also be exempt, as we may refer to them frequently, or occasionally over a lifetime.
But you get the idea.
This is a great exercise to do around the holidays when we usually have a little more free time. It’s also a great way to start 2023: less stuff, more possibilities.
I’d be interested to hear your experiences once you’ve tried it.