Life has become increasingly dependent on material things…
As we move farther into the future, technology advances more quickly than we can keep up with. Cars are becoming things people have only imagined in movies and fashion trends change every season. In addition, social media has people focusing on how others are living their lives more than ever. We live in a world of comparison and competition, in a world run by the next best thing and everyone’s desire to have it. Advertisements are staring us in the face more than ever. They’ve even begun to be customized through algorithms based off of your computer search history and mobile activity. Technology has evolved into something that knows us and knows exactly how to persuade us to give in to the temptations of consumerism… and oftentimes, we do.
But what if we’re focusing on the wrong parts of life? With a deepening focus on material things, when do we make room for the physical and emotional needs of ourselves as well as others around us?
Think about how hard you work at your job and how many hours of your life revolve around that work. It doesn’t leave much time for anything else. However, society tends to fill the void with unnecessary purchases in order to get one step closer to happiness and validation. The time you spend at work turns into countless dollars worth of spending on big homes, fancy cars, the most popular gadgets, toys and an intense desire to fit in with all of the fashion trends.
But, we know, that deep down happiness is not something that can simply be purchased.
No matter how many things you have in your life, it doesn’t equate directly to your happiness and it’s likely that deep down we all know this. Think about all of the free time, energy, space and money we’d have if we stopped trying to fill our lives with things instead of moments. We’d be free to experience life in a whole new way!
However, we understand that it can be difficult to go full on minimalist in the course of a few months, or even a few years. If you’ve ever read Marie Kondo’s, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you’ve seen one extreme of getting rid of things, but we have an alternative solution that will help you take some baby steps.
We recommend going through your possessions and, as an experiment, putting aside a majority of things that you feel are unnecessary or that don’t bring you absolute joy when you see them or interact with them. However, rather than purging them immediately, try renting out a storage unit! This way, if you find that you are missing some things or that you really did need that BreadMaker5000, you can still access it.
By renting a storage unit to de-clutter your home, you can test out the minimalistic lifestyle to see if it’s something that works for you, risk free! Try starting with some of the following areas.
The amount of home décor that we accumulate is tremendous! We hoard mass amounts of decorations for every season in addition to every holiday. We spend hours taking things out of storage, decorating our homes, only to change them out one month later. Unless they hold some sort of sentimental value, chances are these decorations don’t bring us anything other than a reminder of the time of year that it is. This can actually be distracting to the things that do hold value in your homes.
We recommend walking around your home and taking a close look at all of the decorations that you have. You can even go as far as pulling out all of the additional things you have in the back of closets or basements. Go through everything. Try and find the decorations that are meaningful and also attract your eye. If you want to keep them simply because they are breathtaking, that’s fine! Don’t stress about downsizing, it will come naturally.
Everything that you decide to put back into a box you should put in storage instead of the back of your closet. This will free up space for the things that your closet is meant to hold! If in a year you don’t miss anything in storage, consider donating it or holding a garage sale. Try doing the same for your holiday decorations.
This one is big. For many people, it is hard to let go of an item of clothing, especially if it’s one of your favorites. One of the first things you should do is to go through your closet and put aside anything with holes or that is worn out. If you can’t fix it, toss it.
Surprisingly, we only wear about 20% of our clothes 80% of the time1. This means that most of the clothes in our closets are hanging around “just in case.” They are cluttering your closet, which can lead to a cluttered mind. When your closet is filled with distractions, it can be harder to find an item of clothing that you already know you are going to wear for the day. It can also cause your clothes to wear out more quickly. Try going through and removing any clothes that you haven’t worn in the last 6 months. Put them in storage. If you haven’t thought about them 6 months later, get rid of them!
To take things a step further, after you’ve put your first batch of clothes in storage, try reversing all of your hangers in your closet. Every time you wear something, put it back on the rack with the hanger facing the correct way. After 6 more months, when you’re going to get rid of your clothes in storage, take a look at what outfits are still on reversed hangers. Repeat the same process by putting them in storage and you won’t believe how much less stressful picking out an outfit becomes! It will also bring about a sense of calm every time you look into your neatly organized closet.
For the ladies that love shoes, this can be a tough one. If you religiously wear every pair of shoes in your closet, we understand. However, if you have a few pairs (or 20) that you only wear once a year, consider testing out the same process as you did with your clothes. If you don’t miss them, then you don’t need to hoard them on your closet floor. Shoes take up a lot of space!
The average home today has a TV in almost every room. There’s one in the family room, the basement, the living room, every single bedroom and maybe even one in the kitchen. I even know of some people that have a TV in their garage! This is unnecessary and, if you have more than one person in your household, can cause separation between family members. Consider putting your TVs into storage and testing out having the only TV reside in the family room. This will lead to your family watching less television as a whole. It will also perpetuate more family time, as when someone wants to watch TV they will need to navigate to the shared room rather than lock themselves up in their bedrooms.
If it is working after a few months, sell the old TVs and take the family out to dinner or even on a weekend getaway (depending on how many TV’s you had!). If you absolutely can’t live without more than one TV, try limiting yourself to two rather than one for every room.
Kitchen items are one of the most unused accessories we buy. Today, they have everything from banana slicers to herb grinders. But guess what else cuts a banana or grinds herbs? Knives! Kitchen gadgets have evolved so that each thing has one specific purpose rather than utilizing what we already have. But it is possible to – gasp – do things the way our grandmothers have been doing them for years. Is it not possible to cut an apple without a slicer designed specifically for apples? The answer is obvious… it’s quite possible.
Go through all of your kitchen cabinets as well as countertops and try getting rid of those unnecessary gadgets. Put them in a plastic bin in storage and proceed with the same process as we’ve discussed. If you don’t miss them, toss them. Also, try living with your countertops completely clear for a week! We guarantee you won’t be returning every single accessory back when you’re done.
Finally, we can make more room for our life by getting rid of those outdated and unplayed with children’s toys. While parents may hold sentimental value to the toys (like my mother does) we don’t need to store them under our beds or in our closets. Put them in a bin and place them in a storage unit. That way, they will remain pristine and undamaged so that you can pass them down to your grandchildren when the time comes. We aren’t promising that they’ll play with them the way your kids did, but it’s worth a shot!
After you try living with less for a while, we’re sure that you’ll start living a more fulfilled and meaningful life. Your lack of stuff will give more space to spend time with your loved ones and pursue passions that you have. The Lockup Self Storage offers great services to store all of your items while testing out your minimalistic lifestyle. Try renting a self storage unit at www.thelockup.com today.