We just moved across the country from New York to Minnesota. In our move, we filled 2 dumpsters, gave 3 truckloads of goods to local charities, gave 2 rooms of furniture to friends, and had a rummage sale. And I still run across things in my house and wonder “Why do I still have that? How did it get here? Can I use it? Where can I put it? Should I get rid of it? How? Where?” Oh my God, so many questions, such mental energy on something that isn’t giving me any pleasure.
In my study of time management, I’ve come across a truth. Stuff sucks your time. Stuff is worse than people, worse than the web, worse than TV. Because everything you have requires time. Time to acquire it, get it home, decide what to do with it, clean it, learn to use it, store it, and get rid of it.
Today I used the following items. My car, one outfit, a white coat, 2 pens, 3 post-it notes, 4 dog dishes, 2 dog tie-downs, 2 dog leashes. I also used 2 disposable forks, one travel mug, two paper plates, one glass, the washer, the dryer, the shower, the sofa and the dishwasher. I used my cell phone, the speaker for it, and this computer. That’s it. I could literally fit all of this into my car (except the appliances) and still have room for 3 kids and the dogs. I haven’t even touched all my other stuff and believe me, I still have a houseful.
Want more time? Get less stuff. Every time you are tempted to buy something, ask yourself a question beyond the want it/need it level. Ask yourself how you will get rid of it and when you will tire of it. Picture it faded and a little worn and stained. Picture it chipped. Picture it in your yard with crusted dog slobber on it. Picture yourself picking it up gingerly with two fingers and throwing it out. This goes for the free stuff too. Do you have a place for that chair? No! No! Not in your fantasy “Martha Stewart Someday Life” but right now. Do you have a place for it in your current life? If you don’t, let some other sucker bring it home. Still need to satisfy your acquisitive urges? Spend an hour on Pinterest. Seriously, it’s like internet shopping without the storage and the credit card debt. You’d spend more time driving to and from Target. You’ll be surprised at how satisfying it is to “pin” something you like to a board that you’ll never look at. It still feels like shopping, like getting something, and you never have to clean it.