“There must be 50 ways to leave your clutter.” Isn’t that how the song goes?
Well, maybe not. But it’s true anyway. There are at least 50 ways to declutter.
Maybe the real question isn’t how to declutter, but why. Unlike 25 years ago, when I first started getting interested in minimalism, people today know what you mean when you talk about “decluttering.” Everyone’s doing it. It’s trendy, and there’s a perfect storm of reasons for that, including desires to reduce stress, waste, pollution, and debt.
Many people agree that decluttering brings peace and clarity, that living with less saves money and maybe the planet, and that streamlined spaces and electronics are just so cool-looking.
But minimalism is not just about decluttering. Decluttering is only the first step toward a minimalist life.
A lot of No Sidebar readers want inspiration, encouragement, and ideas about decluttering, which is why there are plenty of posts about it. I write about it regularly on my own blog too. But decluttering just to get rid of stuff is pointless, especially if you’re just going to go back out and buy new stuff. I know, because I’ve been there, decluttering over and over because I just kept consuming.
But let’s say you’ve moved beyond that. Maybe you’re starting to challenge these materialist messages of our culture:
• What you own represents how successful you are.
• Your busyness is an indication of your worth.
• What you always need is more.
“Less is more” isn’t just a catchy phrase to you, but a true description of a better way of life.
Minimalism makes it possible for us to free ourselves from the lies of materialism and finally do more than pay lip service to the idea that the things that make us happy are not things. Getting rid of stuff we don’t need has made room for something more important.
As we become minimalist, we take control of our lives and give them direction. What that means is up to each of us to decide. Now that we’re not chasing the latest and greatest stuff, we have the opportunity to decide what is really worth our time, talents, and energy.
What will you do with the new possibilities that are before you?
And what about those 50 ways? With apologies to Paul Simon…
There must be 50 ways to leave your clutter.
Just put it in a sack, Jack,
Load it on a van, Stan,
Don’t need all those toys, Roy,
Oh listen to me.
Give it to Goodwill, Bill,
Sell it on eBay, May,
Recycle what you can, Fran,
And get yourself free.
Put it in a box, Knox,
Take it to the car, Lamar,
Simplify your space, Grace,
Come on and listen to me.
Just keep what you need, Reid,
No need to debate the deed!
Don’t let yourself wait, Kate,
You’ll set yourself free.
Well, I’m no poet, but I hope you got a laugh, anyway.
About the Author: Karen Trefzger is a writer, singer, teacher, wife, mother, and grandmother who has been choosing a simpler life for over 20 years. She is the author of Minimalism A to Z, and blogs at MaximumGratitudeMinimalStuff.