I have found in my life that as I live more simply, the happier I am. You can do it too by following these relatively simple steps. How simple depends on your desire to be happier and freer.
Letting go of stuff doesn’t have to be hard!
You just need to start somewhere. My advice is to sell or donate the things you haven’t used in over a year (pretty standard advice) and work from that point. You can mentally or physically go through your belongings and separate them into three categories; sell, donate and keep. If you want to add another category of “decide later” that’s ok too as long as too many things don’t end up here. Limit it to about a dozen items.
1.Be sure to tell yourself that it is ok (what you say to yourself is extremely important to getting to the next step), that you don’t need it, won’t need it and if for some reason you do end up needing it again that you have the choice to re-acquire it (either by buying new, buying used, renting or borrowing).
2.Quit telling yourself you may do something with it at some future date that will probably never come. Just get rid of it.
3.The next step is to rid yourself of the stuff you have used within the last year but not often. Pack them up and set them in an out of the way location. See how you feel. If you panic about any item, remove it from the boxes and accept that you are not ready and may never be ready to get rid of whatever it is.
4.Go through your closets with the same process in mind. I had clothes that were years old and I was planning on losing just the right amount of weight that I could wear them again. I have lost quite a bit of weight and have indeed started wearing some of those clothes. On the other hand I had to get realistic about what I was hanging on to and make some choices.
Did I want to keep particular pieces because of what they helped me remember of my life at the time that I wore them? If it was a particularly happy time, I allowed myself to feel that feeling as I packed them up. I admitted to myself that clothing could not bring back the happy times, only I could. I have a particular jacket that still has the tags on it after 25 years because it is still just a bit too small for me. It is a designer jacket that I got super cheap and I have had a hard time saying goodbye. I’m finally ready and just imagine the pleasure that someone else will get from finding it at Goodwill. There. Easy peasy. Done! (See how important what you tell yourself is!)
5.If you have things things that hold a really tight grip on you for whatever reason you need to spend a lot of time making the decision as to whether you want to keep them or pass them on. For me it was my books. I have hauled them around for thirty years. I get rid of some, add some new ones and have many that I have never even read. I just needed them.
I finally was able to let 95% of them go when I made my move to North Carolina. It took a lot of conversations (over a period of months) with myself to do it though. I did it gradually. The first ones to go were the ones that really didn’t have much meaning to me or were outdated. Then I separated them into piles by how much I wanted to keep them. The next pile was pretty easy to part with (it gets easier with practice, I promise). There were two piles left and it took me a while to take the next step.
Many things come with additional costs over time.
At that point I just had another conversation with myself about getting them at the library if I wanted to read them again. OK. That was easy. Gone. The last pile I ended up dividing into two more piles and just bit the bullet and donated them to Goodwill. I kept the final pile. It was truly freeing.
Please realize that much of your stuff also comes with additional responsibilities and costs, including taxes, insurance and repairs. Wouldn’t it be nice to reduce the additional costs as well.
I don’t have much stuff but as I look around I am mentally deciding what must go when I move in to my tiny house. Really, how much do you truly need to be happy.