Do you feel like it controls your life?
Do you trip over it in the hallways?
Are you sick of shoving stuff in a closet and leaning against it so you can get it closed?
Can you never find anything when you need it?
Does the clutter in your home make you anxious instead of bring you joy?
Maybe you can relate. Or maybe you’re on the other end of the spectrum. You can’t get enough stuff!
Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. (Ecclesiastes 5:10)
I have fallen into these traps. I’ve held on to stuff I didn’t need, even when I saw people who could use it more than I could. I’ve also donated bags of stuff to the Salvation Army only to fill up my Amazon cart the next day.
But this is not the way I want to live and maybe you can relate, too.
Learn to Live More with Less
Guys, we live in abundance here. Yes, all of us. The story of the widow in Mark 12:41-44 often reminds me just how much more we have to give. Although she only had two coins to her name, she put them both in the offering plate. She truly gave everything she had. When I think I can’t spare any more or time, I want to go back and re-read this story to remind myself that as long as I have something – anything – I can give to others. And in reality, I have a lot that I can give.
This morning, I pulled out a towel from the closet for my shower among the many towels I own. Then, I had the choice to make eggs, cereal or a smoothie. I had to push around a few pairs of shoes to find the ones I wanted to wear and I chose whether to wear my watch or my Fitbit. We live in abundance. And yet it is often not enough.
That’s because blessings can become burdens when held for ourselves. But blessings can also multiple when shared with others.
Would you like to enjoy the simple things in life?
To fill your cup with family time, faith, friends and fun?
Would you like to appreciate the things money can’t buy?
And to be able to give to others in need?
Then let’s do this. Here are my steps to live more with less.
STEP 1.) Make a commitment to live more with less.
It’s not enough to say, “Sure, it would be nice to de-clutter my house and be able to give more to others.” Make your words your actions. Decide this is the year (and month) to get back to the basics and clear out what you don’t need.
Write down your commitment. Tell a friend. Share on Facebook. Whatever keeps you committed to this plan and sets you on the right path. Consider this post my commitment to myself and you all.
For further encouragement check out my friend Erin’s post on 10 Ways Minimalism Ruined My Life. SPOILER ALERT: They were good things.
STEP 2.) De-Clutter Your Items
Yes, this is a huge step, but I am not going to take forever on it. There are countless posts on minimalism and de-cluttering out there that you can dive into.
What I can suggest is that you go through your home or apartment systemically to sort out all your stuff. What I mean by this is don’t do all the socks from one room, crafts from another. Tackle a full room at a time and as you go decide where all certain items will be kept from now on. This post on Four Steps to Declutter your Home or Office will really be able to help you cut down on the clutter, as well as this post on 10 Tips to Become a Better Organizer.
I can also offer some “quick tips.” Every item you pick up (and you must physically pick up every item) decide which of the following four actions you will take with it.
d.) Throw it Away
To help with your decision to keep items ask yourself three questions:
Do you NEED it? Do you LOVE it? Does it make you MONEY?
Everything else you are going to want to sell or donate. But again, it is critical that you go through your home and make a decision about every single item.
If you feel overwhelmed don’t be afraid to start small. Pick one room this month and decide to tackle it. While it is not important how quickly you do it, it is important that you do a whole room at once. Why? Because if you go bit-by-bit throughout the year you will fill up your rooms again.
EXTRA TIP: Take everything out of every drawer and cupboard and sort through in a DIFFERENT room. It is not possible to fully de-clutter by going item-by-item. Everything needs to come out of the space it is in and touched separately. For even more tips I’d also recommend reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
STEP 3:) Take Action On Your Items
Now that you have sorted and organized your items into “Keep” “Sell” and “Donate/Giveaway” piles it is time to take action. Ready?
STEP 4.) Decide what to give away to family and close friends.
Think of a time someone gave you something unexpected but you were so grateful. Since I’m pregnant right now my sister recently gave me boxes and boxes of new or almost new baby clothes for our little girl coming soon.
And between my sister-in-law and my husband’s cousin, I was given a whole new wardrobe of maternity clothes. Their generosity not only saved me a lot of money, but was really thoughtful, too. It filled a need I had and I hope to do the same with items I no longer need or don’t use, too.
Now, it’s your time. As you go through your house de-cluttering, keep in the back of your mind someone who might be able to use or would love an item.
These can be people you know with real needs, or just an item you know someone would enjoy.
You will get more out of giving away these items than even those people receiving them.
I recently did this with several items after my husband and I moved. We move every year here in D.C. to avoid rent increases and it’s actually been a blessing in disguise as far as getting rid of stuff we don’t need and give to my sisters, nieces or friends.
I see stuff in my home all the time that I realize I don’t need and automatically think of someone I know would love it. I then put it in a closet to give to them the next time I see them.
If you need some “generosity” inspiration I’d recommend reading “Silver Boxes: The Gift of Encouragement” by Florence Littauer. Great read!
After you give away those items you will feel a sense of accomplishment. Not only did you clear a room in your home, but you were able to give something special to someone else. This should encourage you to take the next step: decide what you can sell.
STEP 5.) Decide What to Sell
Also, if you have clothes to sell try Poshmark or Threadup.
After you’ve sold or try to sell items that can make you money, bag up the rest of your stuff head to your local thrift shop.
And if you have new or gently used furniture, housewares, or building material I’d recommend donating to your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The money from these items sold go towards helping families in need build an affordable and livable home. Many Habitat ReStores even offer free pickup for large items. Nice.
STEP 7.) Temporarily Stop Spending
Unless you have an absolute NEED for something try to wait a month before making any new purchases. I’ll willing to bet that sweater you had to have is not as important anymore. The more you practice this technique the more you realize you don’t need the newest/latest/great items and are even enjoying living more with less.
STEP 8.) Last but not least, think outside the box
It’s not just material goods we hold on to. Sometimes it’s our talents, or even just time. Giving stuff away has always come easy to me but if we’re being real here, I “hold on” to my time.
I’m an introvert and time is precious to me. While it’s okay to guard it to some extent, I am often selfish with it, too. If you can relate perhaps you will enjoy this article on 8 ways to Happily Host as an Introvert.
Guys, there are so many minimalism and de-clutter posts out there. While I do think it can change your life it is also just as important to “fill” your home with something to replace the items you got rid of. Let’s take out the junk and fill our homes with joy through generosity. Let’s live more with less.
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