Do We Need All Of These Things?

Do We Need All Of These Things?
Photo by Samantha Gades / Unsplash

If you have been a regular visitor to my website, you have probably noticed that I like keeping stuff pretty simple. The website design is dark, sleek, and modern (at least that's what I'm going for) with the aim to eliminate clutter. Navigation menus are kept basic, and you should not be struggling with the number of options you have at your disposal. (unlike the menus at the local chipper, which always seems to have every combination of food under the sun listed)

The simplicity of my website always spills back into my personal life. I don't like having a lot of stuff. Everyone around me will agree, as every few weeks, I will have thrown out something, such as clothes or random possessions that I don't feel the need for anymore. I always feel great at the end of those days, as I have managed to further reduce my material footprint to just owning only the things that I need, not want.

So, I ask you: Do you have stuff lying around that you know you will never touch again, but are holding on to for some obscure reason? Probably. Read on to find out how to get rid of it.

Why do we hold on to things? Mostly because of sentimental value, I imagine. Something you bought on a holiday, which reminds you of that time or place, odd trinkets gifted to you by family and friends, and of course clothes. Don't get me started on clothes. (Ok, I will get started on them but not just yet)

Things we own are part of us, as they have been collected by us and those who love us throughout the years. Let's be honest though, a good portion of those things are useless though, right? Don't get me wrong, I have dedicated places in the house for special artwork, cards from friends and families, and trinkets that I have picked up over the years, however, the important word here is dedicated. (and of course not having too much of it)

The things I place are very intentional (mostly visually appealing in some sort of way) and don't fill my entire home. This article is about not opening all cupboards and dressers in the house and having sh*t crammed in every nook and cranny. Strip it back.

We have all got a bunch of things from past experiences, events, and times. Is there a need to accrue this throughout our life? In a lot of situations, less can be more. Here are some examples to understand what I mean:

  • The card your ex-partner gifted you for your birthday nine years ago?
  • The socks with holes at the back of the drawers that are rendered useless, that your dad gave you Christmas seven years ago?
  • The seventh USB cable that is still packaged in its original plastic JUST INCASE you need it when all six others break?
  • The bike lock you still own even though you sold your bike ten years ago and have no intention of buying one again?

To prevent myself from coming across as a monster who has no feelings let me just say; I keep things too. As I said above: I keep them in small amounts to create meaningful areas around the home, and not visually overstimulate myself every time I open a door or walk into a room.

Perhaps the above gives you an idea of what I mean. I am a fan of getting rid of things that have little to no practical use. Every time I am on a spree to reduce clutter in my life, I ask myself a simple question: Do I get any use out of this? If the answer is no, then I probably won't need it again. (That being said, some things are seasonal, like clothes - more on that later) It can be hard to part from some of these things, again: due to sentimental value. Let me give you a tip on how to make this easier.

Step 1:

Have a look at your belongings, and categorize them into the following three: 'No-Throws' (absolutely not getting rid of this as you need it), 'Seldoms' (It can be debated if I need this), and 'Throw-Gos' (I am most likely never going to use this).

Step 2:

No-throws aren't going anywhere. They are essentials. These can include (but are not limited to): Photos of your family (who will always be your family, hopefully) Your favorite lifelong box set of movies, (for me, Lord of The Rings), Your computer (probably used for work and or private life), Certain clothes and your phone.

Seldoms can be hard. You use them the odd time but would probably not miss them if they were gone for a period of time. I advise that you put them into a bag or a box and put them in your house somewhere where you will not see them. (for me, a cubby under the stairs does the trick) for 30-60 days to see if you really need them. If you have use for them within that time frame where you 'hide' them they probably turn into a No-Throw. If you do not: well - you know what's next. These can include the Bike lock from above, A third monitor that you don't use at all because two suffice plenty for everything you do, and the old French Press that you use once a month because you have an Aero Press which you much prefer.

Go Throws - Well, if you hadn't already guessed, these are items that you never use but are just not ready to throw out yet. You can apply the same concept as for Seldoms, however, I would advise you to be really honest with yourself as to the application of this 'thing' and then chuck it out if it isn't immediately obvious. Items can include the seventh charger (or third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, as you also don't really need them) Documents that are years and years old, which you know you will never need again, and the football boots you never use because you have three other pairs but you found them cool and bought them while you were in the Nike store in New York.

Step 3:

Having categorized all the objects in question perform the actions necessary, i.e keep them, hide them, throw them out.

Some belongings I have recently culled from my arsenal included: overflow kitchen utensils (yep, french press looking at you) old headphones and cables, heaps of old documents, a lot of clothes that never got used, and many more small things. All in all, this helped me create a nicer space for myself with reduced clutter and enhanced peace of mind.

Note: Some categories and items may overlap. Clothes can fit into all three for example. You probably have clothes you never wear, some you wear which are seasonal, and some you wear all the time. I would advise that you apply the same tactic. If you have hangers on your clothes, turn the hangers of the items you think you won't need the other way from the others. If in 30-60 days they are still turned the same way, I think they are ready to be disposed of. (Don't bin them, give them to charity - way better alternative)

Take everything above with a grain of salt: throwing some things out have larger financial implications than others and I would not like to be the inspiration behind you getting rid of something you may need down the line - therefore, make these decisions carefully. I hope to inspire someone to take the final step to get rid of something that they have not been using for years anyway and it is just taking up precious (and expensive) space in their home.

Some call this being a 'minimalist' but I wouldn't ever coin myself with that term. Rather, I like to be someone who doesn't have endless heaps of belongings that I do not need. Tip: replace the things you throw out with plants. It's pleasing to the eye and may enhance your air quality.

If you want advice on certain things or don't know how to proceed, reach out via the contact page or leave a comment.

Happy de-cluttering (I hope you feel great after)