I am transformed!
Clutter and excess stuff were truly compromising my happiness and my ability to even believe i could live joyfully and abundantly. I’m living proof that the The Joy of Less by Francine Jay process really works: I have evolved into a minimalist who is finally living more contentedly within our financial means. In this post i share my personal story of how less stuff really equates to less stress in my daily life.
Philosophical Concept: Less stuff=less stress (Ch.3)
Many of us are slaves to our stuff. First, we stress about NOT having stuff, then how to acquire it. Once the shiny day comes when we buy it, we stress about how to best position it. Next, we stress about keeping it in good shape, using extra caution not to ruin it. Of course something inevitably happens and we then spend more time stressing about how to get it repaired, wasting more funds to repair it. Over time, we debate whether or not we should keep it, where to store it. We move it around a few times before we spend more time getting rid of it. Once we get rid of it, it’s briefly a relief, and then were quickly on to stressing what to replace it with.
STREAMLINE: Reason for each item (Ch. 4).
First, we must realize that the 80/20 Pareto Principle applies: We use 20% of our stuff 80% of the time.
Imagine how your life would change if every 4 of 5 items were discarded!
Next, you must set the rules for what’s worthy of keeping and apply them. Here’s my two guidelines.
- Item(s) kept are the best of their class: Tip to self #8. Save the best and get rid of the rest.
- If i keep duplicates like dish ware, office, first aid or repair supplies i must expect to use it within one year.
My jewelry box 20% story (Ch. 28: Gifts, heirlooms and sentimental items)
I value direct experience more than memories, so this topic area was easier for me than most. My trinkets, hand-me-downs, vast collections of medals, pictures, etc. were quickly and unemotionally either discarded, moved to storage boxes or few albums, or are now proudly displayed so i can see what’s precious to me. On the other hand, my beloved husband values heirlooms more than i, so we argued about his stuff and rearranging pictures. Unfortunately for him, i’m a Taurus, born in the year of the Dragon: Fortunately for him, we have a garage where he keeps boxes of his stuff.
I used to be a sparkle girl who was obsessed with finding the next best pair of dangling earrings. Ironically, i was always losing or breaking one of the pair. So when i opened my jewelry box 90% was junk including at least 10 unmatched earrings.
I discarded 9 out of every 10 items.
Some went to the family members, most went to our local Salvation Armani. I no longer need or have a jewelry box. My classy-looking pearls, my favorite existing pair of dangles and a few extras i couldn’t part with are now in an eye-glass case.
What you see in the picture is my 20% and here’s how often i wear it (%)
- My wedding ring (100%) which i can’t take off.
- My favorite 10K gold loop earrings and watch (71%, 5 days out of 7:) worn daily for work, housework and sleep.
- My most valued heirlooms: A gold Hawaiian bracelet from my “Tutu Wahine” (maternal grandmother), a simple gold ring my mom wore when i was a child that fits nicely on my right hand, and a simple amethyst cross i hope to pass to my first granddaughter on her 12th birthday (14%, 1/7) typically worn once a week when i dress up for church.
How did this really decrease stress? First, along with my wardrobe makeover, it makes getting dressed for any event a breeze. I have fewer choices that all match. No more putting on all different combinations of items. Second, i no longer seek MORE, MORE, MORE.
What i have is what i want, and it’s enough.
All the time spent shopping for the elusive next great pair of earrings is now available for relaxation and adventure. I no longer feel bad when i lose an earring. I’ve accepted my tendency to lose things by always having backups available. Finally, in truth, I don’t need any of these THINGS. What i now admit I do NEED and can’t lose is my expensive progressive trifocals. Without them I truly can’t read or write/type!
What do you really need? Will less==>a higher quality of life for you too?