The lovely Robin asked me earlier this week: [I’d] love to see a post from you about this WASH POST column and what clutter you’d clear from your life.
Get rid of 50 things? Yes please. Why stop at 50? (I try not to throw things away, though – Freecycle instead!)
Out: Duplicates. Generally speaking, if one works fine, you don’t need two.
Out: Unused Items. If you haven’t used it in two years, someone else should have it, if you haven’t let it get outdated or expired or worn out. (If you’d be embarrassed to give it to someone else, why are you keeping it?)
Out: Subscriptions. I got Glamour for $1 on Amazon and heartily regret it. I feel guilty if I “waste” an issue and don’t read it, but when I do, I feel rotten about myself in comparison to the models and get all hopped up about stuff I “need”. 300 pages of mind games to make me feel insufficient? No thanks.
Out: Memberships. Netflix, gyms, clubs, sports: if being a member makes you feel obligated more than it makes you feel happy, ditch it. Get the money and time back in your life.
Out: Paper. Get and pay bills online: record-keeping is so much easier. And go to the library. The exceptions are legal papers, books you love, and journals. (I’d fill the house with those last two if I could. And I just might.)
Out: Things That Need Dusting. There is no need for knickknacks and tchotchkes. Even the words are hard to spell. A simpler space is easier to relax in. Especially if you’re prone to knocking things over, like me.
Out: Stores. I shop online: I overdid it as a teenager and my mall tolerance is gone. Online shopping makes it easier to compare prices, and think things over, and it’s less of an immersive experience. I always try RetailMeNot and Amazon Prime first – and since I’m enamored of Freecycle, sometimes I find perfect things for free. (My best so far is a complete home gym.)
Sometimes Out: People. Sounds awful, I know. But there are people in your life who take more than they offer. You support them and know every detail of what’s going on with them, but either they offer nothing back, or worse, they’re actively draining you. It’s horribly unfair. You do not need friends who drain you. That’s why you have coworkers. (Coworkers: I kid!) Stick with wonderful people. They teach you how to be wonderful too.
Not Quite Out: TV. Since getting a TV, DVR and HDTV at Christmas, I watch TV more, which I don’t like. It’s gorgeous and convenient, though, and I still don’t watch too much. It’s a worthwhile luxury, I think.
In: Green Trendiness. Saving more and buying less is chic, which is nice. It feels less like a guilty secret and there are a lot of ideas being shared. I like The Non-Consumer Advocate, Get Rich Slowly and Zen Habits. (But it helps to prune RSS feeds occasionally too, to stop from wasting time reading too many.)
In: Creativity. Like all the best things, reducing requires creativity. So here’s a quote I love. What if we all had this enthusiasm? What could stop us?
“I find myself trying to imagine all kinds of things all of the the time, and I get a kick out of it. Just like a runner gets a kick out of sweating, I get a kick out of thinking about these things. I can’t stop! I could talk forever.” – Richard Feynman