Less is More

 “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:

  1. Editing what you have ruthlessly, keeping only keep what you use and love.
  2. Using space efficiently, stacking, nesting and digitalising where possible.
  3. 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 :

  1. Why do I want this?
  2. Do I need it?
  3. Will I use it?
  4. Will I be adding to
    1. Pollution?
    2. Social inequality?
    3. 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
  • freedom
  • experiences
  • happiness

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.