Do We Really Need All of Our Stuff?

We de-cluttered and sorted out one clients spare bedroom and it turns out she didn’t need most of the stuff in the room. It was jammed packed. Now she has a spare room to set up as a gorgeous guest room or home office.

One of our consultants recently packed up the majority of her household contents into plastic tubs (labelled, organised, listed and backed up, of course!) because she was undergoing a messy renovation and figured she would rather live without her ornaments, spare clothes, unique linens and grandma’s crockery for a while, than shunt them around the house or continually have to dust them. 

The kids even chipped in and let go of the Lego and the like, and her husband finally banished the dusty books and precious paperwork he’d been hanging onto for the last however many years.

A funny thing happened. You know how it goes: renovation = time consuming = more mess + more time + lots of money, etc. The result? Two years have passed by this six month project and she is still living without the things mentioned above.

Whilst she needed to get at the Christmas decorations for the festive season (buried right at the back of her storage room because, well, the job was going to be done by then, right?) she hasn’t needed to get at anything else much since then.

What amazed her, and inspired her (an organised being…) was the truth behind the saying that we all only use 20% of what we own.  This especially amazed her, because she is so thrifty and willing to ‘let go’ of outdated, unused or unwanted stuff. Where was it all coming from? How could she, of all people, still have so much unused stuff?

Happily, she also found that she wasn’t doing nearly so much dusting, organising and housework – makes sense, really…less stuff = less work. Now, she’d be the first to admit that she wouldn’t want to live in a house without the soulful kind of energy that the family piccies bring, but it has been a revelation to her to realise just how much ‘stuff’ she lives with that contributes so little to her existence and enjoyment of living. Indeed, it costs her time and money. Remember, real estate (even storage space) is expensive.

Check out this Manhattan apartment where one Professional Organiser lives – real estate is worth a fortune here, so some small sacrifices had to be made. Have a look; you won’t believe it – unless, of course, you had similar challenges at home or at uni!

So, take another look around at your collection of must-haves. Must you? Are those things serving you, or just filling up your life, your time and your closets?

Be conscious when you handle something – look at it, feel it, consider its function. If you’re not certain if it should have a life with you, file it into a plastic tub, date the box and stash it for a minimum of six months. If you don’t need it, think of it or lament it in that time, it may be time to lose it – for good!

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