Saturday, 2 August 2014

Minimalism - living without lots of stuff

A typically cluttered house - photo by Karl Sinfield
I am amazed at the amount of possessions people have. I've been to houses where, if people sold much of what they own, they could fetch a fair amount of money. And the thing is, most of the things they own, aren't even used much of the time.

I am even more amazed that people seem to find it so hard to get rid of things that they are unlikely to use much again, if at all. Why would you want to keep an item of clothing or a book or a sewing machine that you will never wear/read/use again or a 20 year old gadget which is out of date in today's world? I just don't get it. 'I paid a lot of money for it.' And? Just because you paid money for something doesn't mean you need to keep it forever.

Sentimental reasons is another reason people keep old stuff. Whilst I understand this a bit more .. do you need to keep something for sentimental reasons if you don't have much use for it? Okay, there is probably no-one I know who is less sentimental than me. But don't feel guilty if you don't want something just because it came from a loved one. Someone else might have more use for it.

A cluttered house means a cluttered mind. I personally cannot stand clutter and could not live with someone who is a hoarder. I think there is a natural cycle of bringing in and putting out when it comes to possessions. Most people are good at obtaining possessions, but not so good at letting go of them when they should.

I am a bit crazy when it comes to getting rid of things. I actually enjoy it. For a start, it helps you to work out what you really want to keep and makes you appreciate the things you still have, that little bit more. I have been fairly ruthless when it comes to music, books and clothes. If there's something that doesn't resonate with me any longer, I will either take it to a charity shop or throw it. Yes, I probably have too few clothes and shoes, and certainly it would be nice to have a few more things such as clocks (I love clocks!), kitchenware and one or two ornaments. This will change in time when I have a bit more money.

Letting go of things you no longer require is very freeing - I have not yet heard anyone say that having a clearout was a bad thing. If you find it difficult to let go of things that you know are not going to be of much use in your life, ask yourself why. I would say that if you haven't used something for six months and can't guarantee that you'll use it again, then you should get rid. There is no need to keep up with the Joneses - most people have far too much stuff. If you identify with your possessions, then perhaps its time to look deeper into yourself and see if possessions are filling some sort of hole. What do you perceive you would lose if you got rid of a whole load of clothes you'll probably never wear again? What scares you about letting go of things?

Let me get this clear, I am not against shopping or buying nice things. Although I do think that the consumer culture and advertising means that a lot of people buy more than they need - as with everything, it's good to set limits when it comes to shopping. If you enjoy shopping, by all means enjoy it - just don't do it to fill a hole and don't become addicted to it. And if you do go on a shopping spree, it's good to clear one or two or things out in the process.

Less is more, as some people say. I do believe this. Hope you enjoyed reading this post.


  1. Here here Andy! I have hardly anything. And even if I had a bigger house I would not hoard. I love clearing out and throwing stuff away. I probably have 50% less than the average consumer and like you have hardly any clothes or shoes and more of that would be nice as they do come in useful LOL I have hardly anyhing for sentimental reasons, my fathers wallet and that is it. I have a native american drum that was handmade for me which I don't use a lot but I do use occasionally for space clearing. But other than that I like clear spaces.

  2. Hi Andy, It's funny that I just wrote a post on 'decluttering' yesterday...I totally share your views and yes I think consumer culture and well maybe keeping up appearances as well has something to do with it especially with fashion items. Very useful writeup, check out mine


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