Beating the battle of ‘stuff’

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For some people it is never-ending. It is an up-hill climb they just cannot get started on; an insurmountable mountain.

In the consumer-driven society in which we live, is it any wonder there are people struggling with too many things? Everywhere we turn we are bombarded with images, lights and noise about the next ‘must-have’ iphone, or the latest and greatest vacuum with 2x the suction power, or the amazing new shoes that will make you feel like you are ‘walking on air’.

Homes are becoming over-crowded with furniture, decorator items, clothing, toys and games. They are filled to bursting point with the things we MUST HAVE to live a comfortable/trendy/insert-persuasive-adjective-here life. So what is the answer? How do we beat this battle of ‘stuff’?

Well, it can actually be simpler than you think; have less ‘stuff’.  “Yes, great, but how exactly do I do that?” is the question probably playing on your mind. Create a plan. Follow it with action. Methodically and consistently, work your way towards a life with less.

Stem the tide. Before making purchases consider the following questions;

·      Do I need this to make my life easier/better/simpler?

·      Do I need this to replace an item that is broken or no longer usable?

·      Will this ‘value add’ to my home or life?

·      Is this something I really want?

If the answer to any or all of these questions is no, DO.NOT.PURCHASE. Try to avoid bringing unnecessary items into your home and start waging your war on ‘stuff’.

Evaluate what you already have. Once you have made the conscious decision to stop purchasing unnecessary items, turn a critical eye to the items you already own. Consider what is essential to your home or life, and make the decision to keep these items. Reflect on what you could probably live without, those items that do not enhance or improve your life and seem superfluous to your needs. Make the decision to move these items along in a considered and sustainable manner. 

Look for clever storage and organisation ideas. After reflecting on that which you already own and culling accordingly, take what remains and organise;

·      Categorise like items with like items and keep them together, such as towels, bathmats and wash cloths

·      Keep items in a location where they will be readily available when you need them, for example storing keys on a hook or in a basket near the door you regularly exit, or keeping a phone charger in the nightstand if you like to charge your phone overnight.

·      Investigate storage options such as tubs, baskets and containers with lids. Utilise any storage you currently have before buying extra solutions and only buy what you really need.

As the old adage goes, ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’. Simple categorising, organisation and storage can go a long way to creating a living space that does not feel overwhelmed with ‘stuff’.

Tell others about your battle against ‘stuff’. Explain to your family and friends what you are trying to achieve and why. When it comes to gift giving for special occasions, ask them to support you in your journey to ‘climb your insurmountable mountain’ by not adding to your piles of ‘things’. Ask them instead if they would be happy to gift experiences to you; a beautiful lunch together, time spent getting a massage, a shopping trip, or consumables such as a bottle of wine – whatever it is that floats your boat!

Make the conscious decision to bring less into your home, and live with fewer needs. Encourage your family and friends to give experiences rather than things. Take pleasure in time spent with those you care about rather than things you care about. Beat the battle of ‘stuff’.

Jo,

Women Against Waste Ambassador