“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." William Morris 1891
I am moving home so, before I mindlessly pack everything up and take it all with me, I am taking time to review what I have and consider what I need. It is time for a lifestyle-edit!
Six years ago, I downsized to a smaller more city apartment and, of necessity, got rid of loads of stuff, knowing it wouldn’t all fit into the new place. This time round, I am not downsizing yet, as I sift through my belongings, I am amazed at how much stuff has accumulated that I really don’t need to take. How did all these possessions creep into my relatively uncomplicated life? I guess you have to be constantly on your guard!
Graham Hill, a specialist in this subject, check out his great TED talk ‘Less Stuff More Happiness’, recommends adopting an approach to living life “small” by:
- Editing what you have ruthlessly, keeping only keep what you use and love.
- Using space efficiently, stacking, nesting and digitalising where possible.
- Making things multifunctional, spaces as well as objects.
So far, I have taken 6 big bags to the charity shop and donated CDs and books to friends – and there is still more to be done.
Now, before buying, I must just remember to ask myself :
- Why do I want this?
- Do I need it?
- Will I use it?
- Will I be adding to
- Social inequality?
- Environmental harm?
For me, this process feels good: and research backs me up.
An uncluttered life is associated with fewer distractions and more:
- space - physically and mentally
- time - to focus on what is important (relationships, purpose, health)
- money – to spend wisely
Inevitably, the reverse is true: clutter can mess with your head by causing stress and anxiety, which can lead to poor health, depression and overeating. And a cluttered home can waste a lot of valuable time. For example, it has been estimated that Americans waste more than 9 million hours per day looking for lost items such as keys, remotes and loose change.
I’m going back to my editing, determined to make more room for a meaningful life.