We Have Too Much Clutter In Our Lives

Focus… on what truly matters. from Adam Baker on Vimeo.

This Video is from http://manvsdebt.com/.  Their tagline is “Sell your crap.  Pay off your debt. Do what you love.”

I recommend you check Adam Baker out there.

As I have mentioned before I am using this blog to develop the content for my book. My plan is to take these posts, expand on them, and refine them. About 90% of what I write on here is intended for my book.

I am choosing the content of my book based on the concepts of lifestyle design with emphasis on you being the one in control of your life. Each of the topics I discuss is based on a concept I have experience in.

Recently I have been under a lot of because we have added moving to all of the other tasks we have on our plates. By the way KC followers we have relocated to Oak Grove.

Through this process I have started asking if I have given myself too many to do lists. I am a very restless person and I have this internal drive for accomplishment. My problem is that I end up filling my time with unimportant stuff.

Also, through the moving process I have to physically handle all of my stuff packing it, moving it from the old place, and then putting it into the new place. Through this process I am always asking why I need this thing or that thing.

These are the conclusions I have reached: we have to much stuff, I obligate myself to do too much unimportant stuff, and I need to find peace with not always getting something done.

I have started developing a plan of action and I recommend that you follow it.

Step 1: Start getting rid of your stuff that you do not need.

We all know we are a consumer society, we buy so much stuff to fill our homes. Our homes have grown larger and we have been renting storage space like crazy to put the stuff that does not fit in our homes.

All of the stuff we own needs to be cared for, cleaned, and cleaned around thus our time is taken up. Have you ever broken something you never use and then felt you needed to replace it? If you did not have it in the first place you would not feel the need to replace it.

These things collect dust and if you are moving you have to move them.

The next issue is that your physical clutter creates mental clutter. This is my theory: I was recently told that some studies have concluded that moving is one of the most stressful things someone can do. I think it is because of stuff. In the past we (people) did not have mass production. Also, when you had something it took a lot to earn/buy it. You had very few belongings and they were needed for you to live. Things like a set of clothes and a knife and a few other items. If you lost one of these items it could mean life or death. The need to care for and keep this stuff was factory installed in us for our survival.

Now we can get anything for very cheap and we are very far from a survival situation. The problem is that the need we have to take care of our belongings does not realize we can just buy another. Now we have collected all of this crap in our lives and we feel a level of need to care for it and not lose it. When you move there is stress created because you do not want to lose any of your belongings.

I know you are saying “but if I got rid of it I would l would be wasting money.” You already wasted the money when you bought it and you never used it. You might also be saying “but what if I need it some day?” If you have not used it in a year and you do not have specific plans to use it, get rid of it. You can buy another if you need it.

Here are some questions to ask that will help you decide what to get rid of.

Have I used this in a year and if not do I have specific plans to use it? This does not mean I might use it … it means I will use it when I am building that deck in 2 months.

If I lost everything in a fire would I buy this thing again? This question helps you to think like you are designing your life from the ground up.

The final step is to make a plan on getting rid of 1 thing each week. Eventually you will have gotten rid of all the crap you do not need.

The next thing that is cluttering our lives is psychological clutter. This consists of the to-do lists, email, meetings, newsletters, blogs, real mail, podcasts, books, TV, advertisements, the physical stuff in our lives I mentioned above, etc. All of this stuff contributes to the lack of peace in our lives. Heck, not fitting in is s huge fear in this area.

I have been reading Seth Godin’s book Linchpin for a while now and it is really speaking to me especially in this issue in mental clutter. A big part of his book talks about the resistance and the lizard brain which both are driven by a level of fear.

Look at the list I just wrote above and ask yourself how much of it do you do because of fear. If you are doing it because of fear then you need to stop. Why do you check your email every 10 minutes? Why do you feel the need to read all of those blogs? Are you afraid you might miss something?

My main fear is that I am not going to live up to my potential and it drives me to consume a ton of information that will help me grow. This might sound okay but I should not be doing it out of fear and if I am not careful this is all I am going to do and my personality will be lost.

Why haven’t you lost weight or gone on that diet? Is there a fear of missing out or not fitting in with your peers?

We are driven my too many fears.

There are some ways to get through this. First, ask yourself why you are doing these things. Are you forcing your kids to be involved with all of the activities because of fear, are you reading all of those books because of fear? If your realize you are doing something because of fear you should stop.

You should only be doing things based on a goal and a plan to reach that goal. You need to put thoughts into your actions.

Next, let’s go on a diet (I am doing this too). We need to go on a media diet. Reduce your podcasts, books, news papers, blogs, email, etc. First, decide what of those things add real value to your life. Then get rid of the rest; make it where they do not show up in your inbox, mail box, your rss feed, your phone, etc.

Next, what on your to-do list can be eliminated? Then cross it off. If it is not important then get rid of it. Why do you have it on there? Only do the things that need to be done. Then design your life so that these things do not pop up on your to-do list as much.

Be okay with doing nothing, just sit. Spend 30 minutes 1 day a week and just sit. Drink some tea and think. You do not need to be doing anything. Next spend time with friends and family and get all of those to-do list off your mind. Do not all your cellphone to bother you during that time. Just enjoy your friends and family.

Finally, get rid of an obligation each week. Get rid of something that you do not need to worry about.

When you have gone through all of these steps you will begin to see you have more time and more peace in your life.

Now I am going to enjoy the weather and walk my dog.

2 Replies on “We Have Too Much Clutter In Our Lives

  1. Great advice here Josh. I’ve been working on many of these issues as well. I am now a big believer in minimalization. All of the “stuff” we’ve been conditioned to buy is really out of control in our society. This is most evident on moving day or when you look at all of the stuff your child receives on his/her birthday or Christmas. At some point, you no longer own your stuff–your stuff owns you.


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