Walking around at Costco today got me thinking about the amount of shit we have in our lives. And if we didn’t already have enough, we are out looking to buy more! If you really take a minute and think about the amount of clutter and material items you have in your life, it’s quite ridiculous. Do I really need 25 t-shirts? Or 10 pairs of shoes? Absolutely not. But whenever I’m out shopping the temptation is there. The need to buy more. To have more. And I’m not the only one. Wrap your head around these stats about Americans and our clutter:
- There are 300,000 items in the average American home.
- While 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and 32% only have room for one vehicle.
- British research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily.
- 3.1% of the world’s children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys consumed globally.
- The average American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually.
- While the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year.
- But our homes have more television sets than people. And those television sets are turned on for more than a third of the day—eight hours, 14 minutes.
- Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education.
- Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods—in other words, items they do not need.
So is the problem of wanting more stuff due to the materialistic culture we see around us in America? Is it because we are constantly surrounded by advertising on our TVs and phones? Or is it the need to try and keep up with our friends and have what they have? Why do we need so much shit? Does it make us happy? Sure, for a while, but material things can’t fill the emptiness that we all really have in us.
So what’s the answer? How can we live a more minimalist life and rid ourselves of having so much clutter in our life? Well for me the answer is start slow. I think many people start off trying to become a minimalist by getting rid of everything all at once. While this might work for some, giving away all my earthly possessions all at once would probably create a more chaotic life that wouldn’t lead to very much peace and harmony in my life. So here are some tips to help declutter yourself of all that extra shit lying around your house. Give them a try. Who knows, you might just find yourself on a road to living a minimalist lifestyle free of too much clutter.
- Try the Oprah Winfrey Closet Hanger Experiment. To identify wardrobe pieces to clear out, hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct direction. After six months, you’ll have a clear picture of which clothes you can easily discard. This experiment could also be applied to a number of clutter areas in your home (cleaners, toys, linens, tools, hobbies and craft items).
- Take the 12-12-12 Challenge. A simple task of locating 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper home can be a really fun and exciting way to quickly organize 36 things in your house.
- Give away one item each day. Colleen Madsen at 365 Less Things gives away one item each day. Over the past several years, she has experienced quite a transformation simply reducing her stuff one day at a time.