This post is less about stuff, and more about focus, but lets start with the stuff. If you’re like me, most of your closets are at capacity, and when it comes time to move, the piles that come out of those closets are overwhelming.
The funny part is, the reason most of this stuff was in the closet in the first place is that my wife and I don’t use it much. Sure, in the front of the closet we’ve got camping gear and brewing gear that we use occasionally, but if you dig a bit farther back you get to the really weird stuff. Weird like a box of all our Halloween costumes since 2009, or broken and obsolete electronics we didn’t even know we still had. Most of the stuff entered our lives silently, through questionable purchases, gifts from friends, or the ‘free’ section of Craigslist (always a great deal, right?). The problem was, once the sparkle of having a new ‘something’ wore off and we decided we wouldn’t be using it very often, we chucked it through the closet door instead of the front door.
The biggest impact this stuff has, besides making us feel forced to buy a bigger house with more storage and more upkeep costs, is that it causes us to lose focus. Pouring out all the boxes in the living room felt like we were sorting through the belongings of some forgetful great-aunt, not two 23 year olds in full possession (or at least I’d like to think full possession) of their wits. There were two unused bottles of water-proofing spray, one purchased just 2 months before. Opening a drawer of electronics exposed 2 cable cords, a cable splitter, 4 ethernet cords, and 4 audio cords (that’s just the stuff in storage, all our electronics in our home were already hooked up with the needed cords).
Having all our stuff spread out between multiple closets and drawers made it seem like we never had what we needed; having everything dumped out on the floor made it clear that we had too much to possible use. So, we started giving away just about everything. It was hard at first, because when we got most of these things we had a very real intention to use them, but at some point in the ‘everything must go’ process you hit a tipping point, and it becomes very easy to toss that bag of high school concert tees into the Goodwill bin.
Here’s the trick you have to remember: the stuff you never use is making it harder for you to find what you need and love. The stuff is forcing you to spend your time digging through drawers and shuffling down the ‘home organization’ aisle at Home Depot, instead of pursing your passion, your ‘One Thing’. The stuff is diverting your focus from what you want to do, what you need to do, to be happy and successful.
This Week’s Challenge:
Pick a room and empty out all the storage and drawers. The bedroom, or wherever you keep your clothing, is a great place to start. Then, with the help of a friend or partner, take a look at each item before you put it back. If it is an item of clothing, PUT IT ON. It’s a lot harder to talk about how important something is when your friend/partner is laughing at how ridiculous you look (maybe it was in the back of the closet for a reason after all). If something doesn’t work for you, immediately toss it into a box marked “Goodwill”, or if it is expensive and hardly worn, “Poshmark” or a similar clothing reseller. Sell everything you don’t want and need. Go with your gut, and don’t talk yourself out of it; once something is in the box, it stays in the box.
Feel free to post comments and pictures of what you’ve gotten rid of! My current tally: 8 boxes to clothing bank or goodwill, and about $1400 from Craigslist. I’m accepting challengers ;).