There are several very important reasons to get rid of at least a portion of your stuff. There are important reasons such as having more space, less clutter, or the sense of mental freedom you get when you let go of your old junk, in addition to perhaps making some extra cash, or even to feel good about donating it to someone who can use it. I’ll tell you about my reasons, and you can decide if you want to try it for yourself or not.
My girlfriend and I just down-sized from a two-bedroom apartment to a studio. Obviously, this was a drastic down-size, comparatively, but it is very weird. Now, it seems like we have more free space than we did in the two-bedroom. The fact that the two bedroom had more furniture in it doesn’t matter. We only really used the bed, the couch, the kitchen and a chair for reading, plus a desk where I can write, and she can draw. We actually have a huge amount of unused space in here, and it’s getting bigger as we sort through the smaller “stuff” and get rid of much of that, too.
There is a real benefit to having less stuff. Less clutter. Clutter is terrible. A pile of papers here, a stack of gadgets there, and it looks like your house is trashed. When you live in a studio apartment where everything is just one room, you have to find a way to not have so much clutter. So, I decided to limit the number of items allowed on flat surfaces, such that they’re not all covered with nick-nacks. There are just a few interesting or important items on every surface, unless we’re working on something (papers when I’m brainstorming, clothes when we’re doing laundry, you know how it goes). It makes everything feel much more clean.
There are two real parts to this. First, you feel a sense of release when you get rid of any amount of stuff you’ve been holding on to. Every item you own holds onto a part of you, so letting go of a few of them lets you get some of yourself back. You don’t really know what I’m talking about until you do it with several larger items, or a large amount of “stuff”. The second component of mental freedom you gain is the lowered stress from it all. Everything in your range of vision is a distraction to your eyes and mind, and so, the more stuff you have, the more that you have pulling at your attention. Having less of everything means more peace of mind.
I sincerely hope you decide to follow me away from this culture of keeping, and move toward a more natural state, where you release the things that you no longer need. You’ll have more space, less clutter, and a sense of mental freedom as a result of your efforts. Go ahead. Pick a pile of things, and just select a few to get rid of. You’ll be glad you did.