I believe it was George Carlin who once stated that a house was just a place to put your stuff and that the more stuff you had the bigger the house you needed. (Or something like that.) I have to agree with George and take it a step further. The more stuff you have, the more work it takes to maintain it and the less time you have to live your life. Could paring down your personal possessions actually save work? You bet.
My minimalism journey
About a year ago, I was sitting in the bathroom, studying all the various items on the shelves. Yes, we all do it, it’s not just you. I realized there were more than just a few products on those shelves that I hadn’t used in years. For example, I have aloe plants. I also have a bottle of commercial aloe gel, mixed with heaven knows what, that just sits on my shelf collecting dust. Every once in a while, I clean it off, along with all the other bottles, jars and various containers of things I don’t use.
This prompted me to think, “Why are they even there? Is it just to give me something to dust? How many other things do I have in the house that I’m maintaining for no reason?”
Now, at the time I had this experience, I was battling a Lupus flare. I was in no shape to overhaul my home. I had good intentions to sort through all my personal possessions and eliminate the unnecessary items. My health just wasn’t at a point where I could actually make that goal happen. Guess what? I’m over that flare. It’s time to take action. But first, is it worth it? Will it save me work or make more work?
How does going minimalist save work?
As I said before, the more stuff you own, the more stuff you have to maintain. I don’t know how you feel about your personal possessions. Sometimes I feel like I’m working for mine, rather than them working for me. Whether you’re talking about tools, equipment or those random jars of things you never use, it all requires maintenance. Why maintain things you don’t use regularly? Why put in the work if you’re not getting a “return” on your investment?
How do you differentiate between things you need and things that are causing you extra work for no reason? Well, you could start by eliminating any storage you’re paying for. You’re working to support that storage unit. Do you really need it? When was the last time you used any of the items in it? Could your hard earned cash be put to better use? Better yet, could you sell those items and get at least a small return on your investment? It’s certainly something to think about.
Use the same strategy in the home, shed and garage.
“What do you have that you haven’t used in over a year? Why do you have it? Why are you maintaining it? Why are you dusting it off, working around it, moving it so you can work, etc. etc.?”
These are questions I’ll be asking myself as I undertake the task of weeding out all the things I don’t use. There’s simply no reason to keep all the things I have.
Maybe someone else could put them to use.
My plan is to gradually weed and give. That is, I’ll eliminate the useless things I have, giving them to someone who can make better use of them. I have books I bought (and didn’t like) sitting on my shelves. Perhaps someone else would enjoy them more. I’m a pretty casual person. I have “dress” clothes I’ll never wear. Maybe someone else could use those. You get my drift. Each possession I eliminate on the path to minimalism might potentially help someone in need or just someone who needs it more than I do.
Once my house is void of useless things….
Well, then, maybe I can work on fixing it up and selling it. It’ll be much easier without so much clutter in the way. I’m a pretty simple person. I don’t have much in the way of possessions. Still, I have more than I need. Who knows? I may even pare my stuff down enough to live in that tiny house I’ve always wanted. George Carlin was right. Your house only has to be big enough to hold you and your stuff, so less stuff equals less house. That will save even more maintenance, won’t it? You know, I think I’m onto something here.
More from Jaipi:
Things to Consider when Choosing a Tiny House
Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle when Vacationing
Financial Benefits of Minimalism