One of the side effects of having too much stuff is the fact that you seem to constantly lose things. Or is that a side effect of simply being disorganized? In any case, disorganization is directly linked to the amount of stuff you own, and here’s my case for why having less will make a happier you.
This, however, isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do in a society that’s become so stuff-centric. You are nothing without stuff. Your personality, worth and mantra for life are the direct correlation of the total sum of stuff you own. I think the equation goes a little like this:
You are categorized by the stuff you own. Slotted into certain social circles. Provided certain opportunities in life. So much is based upon what’s in your closet, on your counter, the car you drive and the TV your own. One wayward decision and you could be altering the tone of your life completely, an unknowing victim to the social ebbs and flows of life!
There’s a little problem with this, though. Especially in cities.
- We have a huge “gimme, gimme” mentality where we feel a sense of false entitlement to own everything that our hearts desire
- We tend to have more stuff than we ever need
- A disproportionate amount of people on the Earth live in cities, with the number growing annually
So what happens more often than not is that we end up hoarding stuff, and then don’t get around to dealing with the stuff we have since we spend more time trying to obtain the next item(s) on our lists. At the same time, we have a finite amount of space in which we can store our stuff, constantly trying to discover new ways to rearrange our living spaces in order to store more stuff. With this vicious cycle, we actually vastly reduce the physical amount of living space we have, which—if you think about it—can lead to all sorts of feelings of anxiety and claustrophobia due to living in what has effectively become a gradually shrinking space to live in!
To my fellow city-dwellers—aren’t you tired of living this way? I know I am. Cities move slower than they used to since you need to ferry such massive populations through them. So since it takes longer to do things, one has less time to do the things that they enjoy. More stuff, less space, less time, more stress.
I don’t think we’re at the point where we’ve resigned ourselves to live in a material dystopia—we can still counter this. In fact, by reviewing and reorganizing the things you have to your name, you may find ways to regain the peace that has been slipping out of your grasp.
There are different ways to go about sorting your stuff. In fact, in this department, Sarah and I are opposites.
This may sound like a recipe for marriage disaster, but hear me out. While our views and principles are largely the same, our personalities are quite different from each other.
Where she prefers to test the pool of new things by dipping a toe in the water, I dive right in without any concern for the consequences
Where she likes to plan before she executes, I prefer to just do crap and scribble out the steps of how I did it after for later reference.
And when it comes to organization, we both strive for the same thing, but in very different ways.
“A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
What we’re both trying to achieve is a state of entropy. I haven’t used the word for a very long time, but I remember that my high school chemistry and physics classes taught me that entropy is the state of order in the universe. Everything fitting together in a neat and tidy order. Sarah’s closer to the approach that things arrive in a state of entropy and become more disorganized over time—things need to be cleaned to restore them to their original splendour; things start off in the “right” way and should be returned to that when you’re done with them; etc.
I, on the other hand, think that everything’s all connected in some way—it just takes a while to have enough knowledge to make the connections.
Maybe it’s that thinking that had me hold on to random objects for so long rather than toss them aside to simplify things, but this too ends well. There are so many tools and methods out there today that can make your life far easier than ever before if you want to reduce your physical footprint on the world; I’ll discuss this more thoroughly tomorrow, but examples include:
- Subscribing to digital versions of magazines and newspapers
- Organizational apps and programs for a variety of platforms
- Numerous online venues to get rid of stuff you no longer use
- NOT buying in bulk if you don’t have enough people in your household to sustain the consumption of bulk items
- Doing routine reviews to see what you actually use in your household
- Making a focused effort to use up what you have before buying new items
All is not lost, my friends. But you can tell your stuff to get lost, but let’s take it all a step at a time. So get some old clothes on, because tomorrow, we’re putting you to a bit of work!