(From Josh Becker's article "The 10 Most Important Things to Simplify in Your Life)
"Too many material possessions complicate our lives to a greater degree than we ever give them credit. They drain our bank account, our energy, and our attention. They keep us from the ones we love and from living a life based on our values. If you will invest the time to remove nonessential possessions from your life, you will never regret it."
This is the number one area I need to work on right now. My house is bursting with stuff and I can't stand it. Since Juliette was born 6 weeks ago, I've done an initial sweep of the house, and I've collected two massive piles in the garage - one for garbage, one for donation. But I'm nowhere near where I want to be.
I'm using a couple of rules when it comes to de-cluttering the house:
1. Empty each room by half. To do this, put everything in the room in the middle of the floor and make two piles from that - half to keep and half to go. I have a strong feeling that 50% of all my stuff is superfluous.
2. Keep only what is useful or beautiful. Having something simply to fill a corner is clutter.
3. Keep the number of things standing on the floor of a room to less than 10. This is an original idea of mine. I remember going into a friend's house that always feels open, clean, and simple. In her living room, I counted only 7 things: a bookshelf, a couch, a standing lamp, a piano, an armchair, an ottoman, and a side table. It was revelatory to me to realize that is the key to a simple feeling in a room.
4. Stop keeping things I think I might use one day down the road. If I'm not actively using it now, don't bother holding onto it. If I get rid of it and then really need it one day, I can always borrow it from someone or buy it again. Although I don't like the idea of buying something twice, I'm holding onto too much that I never use again. I will have to sacrifice one idea (wasting money by buying something twice) for a superior idea (simple living.)