I couldn't tell you how many times I used to get told to 'be more organised'.
Whether it was organising my stuff or the structure of my day, apparently my organisation wasn't up to scratch.
Back then, I used to beat myself up about it.
It makes me laugh now.
Though organisation was apparently not my strength, I always noticed that when I was working in a clean space, without clutter, I had better focus and was brilliant at getting what needed to be done, done. I also knew that when I wasn't over committed to anything, I thrived.
But most people I knew didn't seem to work that way. From what I could see, they were happy rolling with the motto of:
'Own as much stuff as you can. Make sure it's the latest model. If it's old you won't look successful. Get more on your calendar. Get more into your day. Get more out of your day. If you're having trouble organising all that you own, come up with a system to keep it neat. If you're not earning enough money to buy all that you're buying, get an extra job. Start work earlier and finish later. Exercise more. Stress less. Do more. Worry less. Don't forget to look after your family. Come to all the meetings after work hours. If you can't fit it all in you need an app to help you prioritise. Pay for a cleaner! Read books on how to organise your life. If you're having trouble with any of this, you're probably just disorganised.'
I couldn't do it.
I felt bad that I couldn't live the life that so many others defined as organised.
I started to wonder if we had always lived like this?
Working more, buying more, stressing more.
Then seemingly out of the blue, I started to think that maybe I don't need to be more organised, maybe I just need to do less?
Maybe I didn't need to have better systems to organise all my stuff, maybe I just needed to own less?
So I started to do a little research into how someone like me could best manage my stuff.
I found it in a statement that shocked me initially.
Get rid of most of it.
But I decided to give it a go.
HOW DID I GET RID OF MOST OF MY STUFF?
I'm an all in kind of guy.
Once I realised that the clutter in my life was causing unnecessary stress, I immediately started going through everything I owned asking myself,
'Does this item add value to my life'?
If the answer was no, I sold it, gave it away or threw it out.
It didn't take long to get rid of the excess.
- Books I didn't read
- Old items in the shed
- Old clothes
- Old shoes
- My car
- My Desk
- 'Just in case' items
That's just how I started.
But there's no right way to minimise. We are simply finding what adds value to our lives, and getting rid of the rest.
But if you're anything like me and you're craving a little more guidance on where to begin, I highly recommend the following essay written by 'The Minimalists'.
PERSONAL BENEFITS OF MINIMALISM
- More money: We don't need to buy anywhere near as much as we think we do. The Minimalist Lifestyle forces you to think carefully about what you're bringing into your home. When you think carefully before each purchase, you will naturally spend less. Spending becomes more intentional.
- Less stress: Whether it is more space in your house, our more space in your day, there is no doubt that taking on less has a positive impact on your stress levels. If you want some more ideas on reducing stress, read this.
- Easier to clean: When you don't have some much stuff, you don't need to clean so much.
- Productivity improves: Busyness has become a form of laziness that stops us focussing on what is most important to us. Focussing on the essential rather than everything else naturally improves our productivity in what we truly value.
- Own quality: When you're buying less, it's easier to invest in quality. Rather than owning a closet filled with clothes you may wear one day, it's replaced with good quality clothing that you love wearing everyday. You don't need to own a lot to be stylish.
- Time for what matters: Minimalism removes the excess in your life, and allows you to focus on the essential.
- Organisation: It's easier to organise less.
- Visually appealing: Clean looks better than clutter.
- Live in a smaller space: When you don't own so much, you don't need so much space to store it.
- Clarity: When we do less more intentionally, we're more focussed.
EVERYTHING I OWN
- If you're interested in seeing a list of everything I now own, click here.
10 MINIMALISTS FROM HISTORY
- Jesus: “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul.”
- Confucius: “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
- Lao Tzu: “Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
- Socrates: “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
- Marcus Aurelius: “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
- Leonardo da Vinci: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
- Henry David Theroux “Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify, simplify! … Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose.”
- Leo Tolstoy: "Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on how we see them."
- Einstein: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
- Ghandi: “You may have occasion to possess or use material things, but the secret of life lies in never missing them.”
- Should You Be A Minimalist?
- 30-Day Minimalism Game
- Why I Quit My Six-Figure Career
- The UnAmerican Dream
- The Minimalist Mom
- Becoming Minimalist
- A Rich Life With Less Stuff
- Zen Habits: On Minimalism
- Debt Free
- Why I Got Rid of My Wardrobe