I’m now about two weeks into my de-cluttering project. I’ve made heaps of progress and I’m quite proud of myself. This is what I’ve accomplished so far:
– I went through my room and got rid of heaps of junk that was lying around. I found a place for all of the things I want to keep, so that there’s nothing sitting on the floor.
– I cleaned off my desk and left only the most essential things sitting on it. I also tidied all of my desk drawers.
– I cleared out my linen closet, and got rid of so much stuff that I now have a whole shelf free.
– My inbox now only contains new emails! I deleted literally hundreds of old emails, and organized the remaining ones into folders.
– My blog reader has been culled. I cut out all the blogs that no longer excite me, the ones that post infrequently and the ones that have started to get under my skin.
One of the biggest challenges for me during this project so far has been curbing my spending. I’m not a shop-a-holic, but I do like to indulge in the odd bit of retail therapy. I tend not to spend a lot of money on any one item, but prefer to buy lots of little things. I can justify making a purchase if it doesn’t cost too much. I tell myself that I deserve a little treat, and that a two-dollar bottle of nail polish isn’t going to break the bank.
It’s true that I’m hardly going to go bankrupt if I spend a couple of dollars on a cute lipgloss or a new book. None of the things I buy are expensive on their own. However, all those little purchases add up to a lot of money over time. Each time I talk myself out of buying something small and sweet, it’s actually contributing to a large long-term victory.
At the moment, curbing my spending actually has little to do with money. Sure, I don’t earn a lot and I could certainly do with saving a few bucks, but that’s not my main reason for cutting down on shopping. The real reason is space. I own so many things. I have more things that I can really use and enjoy. The things that I buy are cluttering up my living space and making me feel claustrophobic and icky. I have a wardrobe that’s spewing clothing all over my room, a makeup case that’s leaking products across my bathroom and a bookcase that’s got titles coming out the yin-yang.
At the moment, whenever I see something that I’d like to buy, I ask myself, “Do you really have room for that at home?” or “Do you really want to have to find a place to keep that?” Most of the time, the answer is “No”, so I leave it in the store. The thought of having to find a home for any new purchases is enough to make me turn tail and run.
While the space issue is a compelling reason to put the brakes on my shopping habits, there’s another reason as well. I was thinking the other day about when I was a teenager, and I only got a couple of dollars each week for my pocket money. I would pore over magazines and catalogues, planning out what I wanted to buy with my money. Any time I wanted a new CD, some nail polish or new clothes, I had to save for ages to get it. This was a pain in the backside, but it meant that I truly appreciated everything I owned. Because I could only afford to buy a few things, those things were carefully selected, and once I acquired them, I loved them until they wore out (or until they slipped out of fashion). Now, I have so many clothes that I only wear each garment a couple of times a season, I have a rainbow of nail polish and eyeshadows and my CD rack is bursting at the seams, and yet I’m not any happier with my belongings than I was back then.
Rather than buying a bunch of new stuff, I’m trying really hard to use and enjoy the things I already own. Rather than cramming more and more into my tired closets, I’m going to stem the flow of new clothes so that I can better assess what I already have and whittle it down to a more organized collection. Rather than blowing a few dollars here and there on random purchases, I’m going to tighten my purse strings. Curbing my spending will allow me to save money and space, and will help me to be grateful for those things I already have, rather than hungering for more. Until the end of this year, I’m only going to be buying things that I need, or replacing things that I use up or wear out. (oh, I’ll also be spending money on Christmas presents, because I’m not a total Grinch).
Would you like to help out with the de-cluttering project? Here’s a few ways you can participate:
– Do some de-cluttering of your own. Clear out your closet, your bookcase or your car and then leave a comment telling me about your progress.
– Share your de-cluttering tips with me here or via email. You can get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org
– Leave a comment showing your support to give me the motivation to keep on going.