Life With Less Clutter

“Cause nothing I have is truly mine” – Lyric from Dido’s song Life for Rent

Do you oftentimes feel bogged down, physically weighed by your clutter in your home, your office, your car, your bag/purse, your mind, your body? Chances are there is just too much clutter in your life. Too much stuff doesn’t just pertain to the tangibles. Too much going on in your already hectic schedule is also a drag.

The downside of having too much going on in your schedule and your home:

  • You feel pulled in every direction, physically present at every meeting, commitment, or event, but not emotionally and mentally 100% there.
  • You have absolutely no time for yourself. Although being with other people does give us a temporary boost, over time, our energy is drained if we do not occasionally have some ME time.
  • You cannot find anything and things seem to get lost under the pile of papers, folders, keys, bags, clothes, bills, and mail. You hate how everything’s messy but just don’t have the time to sort through and clean everything out.
  • You have to have a van or a truck when it comes to moving because of all the accumulated stuff. And moving! That’s an ordeal in and of itself. Many consider it a nightmare.

The upside of having a life with less clutter:

  • Less commitments means the ones you actually do commit to can be of superb value to yourself and to others. Remember the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of the effects are a result of 20% of the causes. Eliminate the time-wasters, the ones that bring you little to no value, and make room for the ones that do. Don’t go because you feel obligated. Go because you want to.
  • Don’t confuse comfort with happiness. Just because you are comfortable amidst your clutter does not mean you are happy. You may have just gotten used to being around so much stuff. Do you know the elated feeling when you finally get around to cleaning out a closet or drawer? Imagine that feeling compounded a hundred times and you can start to get the feeling of a minimalist’s life.
  • More YOU time. If you can’t take care of yourself by getting enough rest, exercise, and quiet time to just do whatever you want to do, how can you possibly give away of yourself to others when inside you are drowning in your over-commitments? Instead of  serving others as being a pleasure, it slowly becomes a burden. And that’s not fun.
  • Less stuff = less worries. I don’t get home owner’s insurance (first of all because I don’t own a home) because there’s nothing that I own that I consider to be absolutely life devastating if it was destroyed, lost, or stolen. All my most precious “things” are memories I have within me. That, I carry around at all times and can truly call my own.

Life with less clutter applies to many facets of your life. At the most basic level, it involves ridding yourself of the non-essentials to leave room for the absolute essentials. So long as you can determine what is absolutely essential from those things that you can go without, you are taking positive steps to enriching your life filled with meaning instead of possessions.

View Comments

  1. Jonathan Chan says:

    Excellent post, Nina. You are the best, and the contents of your blog are all very insightful and practical, keep it up!!!

    Thank you for reminding that we need to be careful of over-commitment. Sometimes, I am guilty of doing too many things at a time. In the end, yes it’s true usually I am able to handle all of them, but sometimes I noticed I was too stretched out and didn’t leave enough time for myself.

    Totally agreed with less stuff = less worries. Memories and people are much much more important than all the earthly stuff, which will be gone someday, sopmeway. And even if some “stuff” can last long, when we pass away, we cannot bring one single item with us.

    We need to build our security around our self-esteem/self-image, healthy life style, healthy human relationships. Cannot build our security around any materialistic stuff…..

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