I haven’t really told you about myself and how I got into minimalism and this move against consumerism. I used to be like everyone else. I used to be a consumer. I used to be a hoarder and took pride with being a pack-rat and aiming to have everything and lacking nothing. Even my parents though they have differennt backgrounds they are both hoarders. No disrespect meant. I’m just trying to say it sort of “runs in the family” so to speak and I saw a lot of it growing up and as they say monkey see monkey do. I grew up with the belief that stuff is important or you never know when you’re going to need “insert useless object” or stuff equals to stature and stuff like that. Maybe I’m whining because it’s true or maybe I turned into a minimalist non-conformist obsessive compulsive clean-freak obsessed with whitespace which by the way, I find pretty cool.
Growing up I picked up a lot of hoarding habits and I have ADHD and I’m naturally lazy so when I got my own room…You guessed it I filled with stuff and cluttered it with garbage I’m hoarding. Stuff was a status symbol for me. I go, look at all my toys, gadgets, magazines, comicbooks, books, clothes, gear etc. When I hit 17 my Grandma died and I lost all my stuff save some clothes I could fit in a small backpack. I turned 18 and started working then guess what I got my own room and I was able to fill it with a new set of clothes, books and a whole bunch of other stuff. Every room I moved into and stayed in got filled with stuff. When I became independent my bestfriend had to help me around moving my crap and he was the only one capable because he had a car the size of a small SUV and was willing to help me. My girlfriend at one point wanted to help me move from a room I was renting to a small place a few houses away, which was considered near where I was staying and the amount of clutter and garbage made her sick. Looking back for the past 6 years she had seen 5 of the places I had stayed in and its a miracle we’re still together after seing all that crap. I had excess, in a bad way.
Quick Sumary of what I did to my stuff:
- FHM Magazines - I burned them
- Men's Healt Magazines - burned them
- Martial Arts Magazines gave them away
- Comicbooks - gave them away
- Colectibles - gave them away or trashed them - took pictures of ones I like to keep then gave them away
- Training Materials - used a digital camera to turn them into pictures - which I mostly deleted after.
- Notebooks. - used a digital camera to turn them into pictures - which I mostly deleted after.
- Brochures- used a digital camera to turn them into pictures - which I mostly deleted after.
- Business cards-used a digital camera to turn them into pictures - which I mostly deleted after.
- Papers- used a digital camera to turn them into pictures - which I mostly deleted after.
- Business Plans - used a digital camera to turn them into pictures - which I mostly deleted after.
- CDS - gave them away
- DVD's - gave away
- Clothes -gave them away or gave them to my mom to be used as rags
- Coats and Jackets - Gave them away
Having less stuff definately feels lighter and it’s easier to organize. Plus I enjoy having the freespace and I’m less inclined to buy useless crap so my expenses are now pretty low.
Here are some tips on how to get rid of crap you call your stuff:
- Try aiming for less than 100 things - If you can only keep 100 items from all your stuff what would they be? Try Dave Bruno's 100 thing challenge.
- Start with what you fear losing - Things will be easier when you start with the hard part. This doesn't just work well with stuff but with time and attention as well. A few weeks ago I deleted facebook and last week I was able to teach myself how to focus and get a week's worth of work in a day without rushing.
- Start with what you can gat rid of - maybe you're not up to getting the hard part yet. Its okay. You learn at your own pace and not what other people dictate. Try removing some stuff that you're a little attached to. Then after you've realized that there's no consequence and actually a lot of benefits of going minimalist and ditching the stuff you actually take for granted most of the time then you can move on to the bigger things.
- Use a someday pile - Can't decide? Get a box keep the things you feel "you'll use someday" then leave it there for a month, six months, a year, a few years, whatever you're comfortable with. Then discard as soon as you realize that you don't need it.
- Just get rid of something regularly - We all have to start somewhere. Pick something pick anything you'd like to get rid of a day, everyday. Do it in batches, do it per piece. Doesn't matter because the small thing that you do everyday will amount to a lot and all the benefits of not having a lot of crap will spill over into other areas of your life and will add up everyday.
- Use an "I'll use until I'm tired of it pile" - There are some items that you know will have to go but you can't part with it. It's your item. Enjoy it. If you absolutely have to take a picture or use it until you're tired of it.
- Stop adding stuff - The most important part of this declutter is that your as your stuff's numbers are reduced they don't get a steady supply of reinforcements. Don't buy stuff you don't plan to keep for long. You can rent/borrow from someone else. Owning a lot of things is not sexy.
- Enjoy the white space - Finally the benefits of a clean area is second to none, especially if you're trying to get great things done.
Shoot me a message or contact me at twitter and let me know how your declutter goes.