Living with Less and Giving More when you Do

There's a precarious tipping point between having enough and too much. We've just moved and really attacked our "Misc." drawers, cupboards and closets. Though the move was kind of a surprise and needed to be done quickly, we were determined not to simply transplant the clutter and chaos that had crept in. There were definitely a few places that were anxiety-provoking around the house and sifting through the superfluous was really cathartic. 

If you are finding it hard to dive into decluttering mode, here are a few tips that were useful to us:

1. Try not to get overwhelmed. Break it down. Don't try to do everything at once.  Try to avoid distractions, or moving from project to project.

2. Give yourself a goal and a reward. "When I get through these drawers, I can  _______ "(whatever gets you going, Netflix binge, cocktails, anything that will motivate you to get the job done).

3. Visualise. Picture the current chaos zone as clean, well organised and only harbouring the essential. 

4. Don't stop halfway through. It's depressing. 

5. Have an algorithm. If you're on the fence about keeping an item, ask yourself some key questions: One: "Have I used this in the last three months?" Two: "Am I keeping it because of an emotional attachment or guilt of giving it away?" Three: "When I look at/use/wear this, do I feel happy, or better knowing I have it?" Four: "What is this?" If you can't answer in three seconds, lose it!

Don't throw it! Get creative where you give away

We live in such a throw-away culture. Resist! Make good use of what you no longer need, it may be exactly what someone else is looking for. This will also help you think about what is really important. "I've worn this coat once and it doesn't suit me, but if I ever go to Wiltshire I might wanna wear it" is not a good enough reason when someone living on the street is cold now. Visualise the reaction of a person who really needed your unwanted item and how this has helped them. 

A few ideas...

You know the 10,000 travel shampoos, lotions and conditioners you have accumulated from work trips? The extra unopened toothbrushes you'll never use since you've gone electric? Did you know that battered women's shelters are desperate for items like this? Sometimes women have to flee in the night with nothing; a travel kit from Virgin First might go a really long way for them. 

Have you just gone through your gift wrapping bags and found tons of old ribbon, paper and holiday cards you will never use? Children's centres and schools will put these to good use.

Job lots. Ebay Gumtree and Craig's List are all places where you can giveaway in bulk if you don't want the hassle of selling or individually placing ads for each item. You can bundle things and post them on the 'freebies' space on these sites, or Freecycle it. Maybe it's the bazillion make up and face products that you used twice (and made you break out) that some teenager with no cash is going to devour. Or stacks of post cards an artist needs to complete their vision. Again, it may be nothing to you and helpful to someone else. 

(we'd love to add your useful tips! email us!)

Carry on clutter-free

What we have learned? Don't be a slave to the material and once you've gone through the effort of liberating yourself, don't go back down that path. Stuff will always just be stuff. When you find something you love or need, go for it! But when you buy less, you'll have more space (emotionally and physically), time (and cash!) for experiences- travelling, time, moments with friends, the things that make you really happy. 

xx Arizona, Boniface, and Much Less Stuff.


Women for Women International

Women for Women International