Having too much stuff is a common problem. We all look round our houses every so often and wonder what happened. When did the kids take over? Why do you have a collection of novelty teapots (and why do your inlaws think you love them?) How did you accumulate this amount of stuff in the first place?
Stuff is the plague of our times. We don’t want to be wasteful by throwing things away but equally we want the thrill of buying new stuff. We haven’t quite got over the idea that stuff means status.
So what can you do?
A Bold Beginning
If you want to find out how dependent you are on your stuff, one of the boldest moves you can make is to put it all into storage for a month and see how you get on. Renting a storage space is really easy and, if nothing else, the volume of stuff you have will become very clear as you pack up your boxes.
There are a few small caveats to this plan. You should definitely keep the essentials you need for daily life – but only the essentials. So, pick out a few outfits to wear but pack up the rest of your wardrobe, keep things like cutlery and pans but store novelty cake tins and other rarely used items. This will truly open your eyes to how little you can make do with.
As you go through your month, you will come to realize what you really miss and which items you have completely forgotten about. The difference between the two comes down to a couple of ideas: the sentimental value of the item, how useful it is and how frequently you use it. Items that fulfill all 3 are the things that you should definitely hold on to and items that don’t are the things you could probably get rid of.
You should also think about the effort of upkeep. There are lots of tricks to help you clean your house but ultimately, the more stuff you have, the more dust will accumulate and the longer it will take you to clean thoroughly. If you don’t love an item enough to dust it every week, you might like to reconsider keeping it.
Changing Your Lifestyle
Millennials are particularly good at valuing experience over things. This could be because millennials have grown up with the internet – they are used to streaming films instead of building a collection of DVDs, they are happy to subscribe to listen to their favorite music and, ultimately, if they want to get on the housing ladder, they can’t afford stuff anyway!
Changing your lifestyle is hard but small steps make a huge difference. Asking one question before you buy anything will make you think harder: how will this item change my life? Consider how an item will impact you, good and bad and you give yourself more time to talk yourself out of spending more on stuff. And the less you buy, the more experiences you can enjoy.