Tips and Tricks
"Where Do I Even Start?..."
That is almost always the question I get when visiting people in their homes. They look around, seemingly lost, the anxious look on their face tells me everything I need to know. They are so overwhelmed by chaos that they just can't begin to separate the necessary from the unnecessary.
Steps to Success in Minimizing Your Possesions
1. Categorize- collect all of the same item from your whole house. Then you can see just how many purses, shoes, shirts, toys, etc. you have. Look at each item separately, when is the last time you wore it or used it? If it's been 6 months or more, donate it, sell it, give it away. Get it out of your house and out of your life.
"But I might need it in the future..."
We are fortunate enough to live in a country where pretty much any material item we need or want we can go to the store and buy for a relatively inexpensive cost. In fact, that is what I believe has led to this "materialistic epidemic" of the first world. With sites like varage, bidding wars, craigslist, and thrift shops, we can buy and sell things for minimal cost. And it helps the environment by not purchasing something brand new which drives the industrial demand of production. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Whatever you're not using, someone else could be.
"My mother/aunty/grandma/son/daughter, etc gave or made it for me..."
Emotional attachment to items is the hardest factors when it comes to letting something go. Most of the time it's something you never use, but the memory is there. It makes it even harder if the person who gave it to us is no longer here. Take a picture of the item and then put the item away in storage. In a few months bring up the picture to look at. Does it give you the same feeling? If it does, you know that the item isn't what you need, but the memory that needs triggering. If you don't get the same feeling or memory without touching the item, go and get it from storage. If it makes you happy, keep it. I'm not about to encourage people to get rid of sentimental items that promote happiness. My goal is to help people determine what's actually important enough to keep in their life.
2. Identify 'needs' from 'wants'
How often do you say "I need that purse/shirt/thing".
Do you really need it? Can you eat it, breathe it, live in it? Many of us believe that things make us happy. Even though its been proven that experiences and relationships promote happiness and contentment, not material items.
How necessary is it to have in your life?
Not only will you save money by spending less, your house will be easier to clean with less stuff in it.
3. Toys, toys, toys
Kids always have way too many toys, and they always want more. Teach your child from a young age the importance of necessity. You will find that they will be much more appreciative of any new items. At Birthdays and Christmas, recommend that friends and family do not buy toys for your kids, but a contribution to their RESP, a gift certificate to a play gym or recreation center, or gift card would be more appropriate. Or if they bring something from their own home to regift.
4. Overstocking Food
Even I'm guilty of this one. We buy way too much food! Our fridge and pantry are stocked full, but why? We live five minutes to the supermarket, but our busy lives lead us to stock up on food. Meal planning for the week and only buying exact amounts will help cut down on food waste.
Use up what's in your fridge and freezer completely before shopping for more. You'll probably be surprised how long you can go without grocery shopping. The issue is when you run out of one item you use often, you end up doing a big shop because you're already there at the store.
"But its cheaper to buy in bulk"
This is true. Oh Costco... Costco is wonderful, I have to admit, but how much cheaper is it really if only half the ten pound bag of apples get eaten?
5. Make your home a comfortable and stress free environment
How are we supposed to relax when our busy lives don't let us breathe even for a minute, and then come home to an environment that stresses us out. No wonder things get neglected, spare rooms and storage spaces become the catch all for stuff that we don't have time to organize. We are so busy and disorganized that when we can't find what we are looking for we buy it again, wasting time, space and money. We need to prioritize our home so that it can be our safe haven.