Tag Archives: minimalism

Intent of the Day: Clean House


I am never five minutes into stripping the clutter from my life before I start running into
the clutter that is my life.
-Robert Brault

It’s funny how our home space says so much about our brain space. For some, the clutter in their brain is the opposite of their spotless home. For others, the exact opposite. For still others, the clutter they feel is exactly the picture you discover when you enter their living space. Sometimes the overwhelming feeling can feel very debilitating. Sometimes it’s the weight that keeps you from feeling like you can dive into something new. There is something important about the practice of deciding what needs to move forward with you and what needs to be let go that extends beyond just getting rid of stuff. ¬†Either way, cleaning house figuratively and literally is a great task to take on as you prepare for a new year!

Our intent of the day is to clean house! Thinking about it? Here’s why it’s good for you! Continue reading

Can You Downgrade Your Living Space Clutter To Only 100 Personal Possessions?

Thanks to the internet, one brave individual or gutsy family can go through a very challenging lifestyle makeover, publicize their journey on the web, and then inspire others to do the same. Six Items Or Less is a web challenge for men and women to get by with only six items of clothing for at least a whole month. The Great American Apparel Diet challenges people to not buy a single new article of clothing for an entire year. The Uniform Project, which began from one woman’s personal challenge to wear one black dress and spruce it up with different vintage, handmade, reused or donated accessories for an entire year, has now evolved into an internet meme where brave fashionistas all over the net are seeing how much they can do with just one outfit and a whole lot of creative accessorizing for an entire year (no new purchases allowed).

Here is another cool web challenge that falls into the same vein of downsizing and consuming less: The 100 Thing Challenge, started by blogger Dave Bruno. Can you simplify all of your personal possessions to just one hundred items?

Before you balk at the impossibility of this task, some general guidelines to follow: shared items (like your family’s cookware) don’t count. Neither do non-personal items that are there for a strictly utilitarian reason (cleaning supplies, basic tools, an emergency kit, eating utensils). Collections can count as one item, so your library of books, rare baseball cards or extensive snowglobe collection? Safe–for now.

Now how about all the other stuff that you have in your house or living space? All of your T-shirts, jackets, hats, shoes, cell phone, computer, T.V., family heirlooms, tacky Christmas ornaments, old vacation souvenirs, artwork, calendars, notebooks, pens, bike, et. al–is it possible to downgrade to only a mere 100 items? 

A great blog post on zen habits chronicles one man’s challenge to pare down his personal possessions to not just 100 items–but 42! His reasons for decluttering and his process for doing so are both worth the read for anybody interested in doing the same.

So do you think you are ready to undergo a massive downgrade of stuff? Even if you can’t get to 100–or 100 is too easy for you–the point is that all of us really can be just as happy with a whole lot less. 

Reading about other people’s decluttering challenges definitely inspires me to start getting rid of junk that is currently taking up space in my small studio apartment. I am definitely motivated to grab a moving box, fill it with unwanted junk, and get it to the closest Salvation Army so I can enjoy more open space all the time! 

Some general decluttering tips: 
– Have a regular decluttering schedule at least a few times a year. At the bare minimum, seasonal decluttering is a good goal to aim for. Cycling unwanted stuff out of your living space at the end of every month is a lot more manageable than every sporadic few years.
– If you’re going to have a garage sale or yard sale, see if you can team up with another neighbor or friend. It’ll at least make the day-long chore of strangers shifting through your outdated clothes, thinking about buying them, and then walking away a less depressing process.
– See how giving away your unwanted junk can benefit others. I love it when my unwanted junk becomes useful for another person. Host a clothing and accessories swap with friends. See if your old printer will be of use to a non-profit organization. And then there’s always the Salvation Army, where your donated stuff can be purchased for cheap by a family in need.
– Think of how much lighter you will feel when you clear up more space. When we own a lot of stuff, the stuff starts to own us: our happiness, our attention, and our sense of identity. Imagine how wonderful you will feel when you’ve reduced your personal possessions by 50 percent and you can enjoy a simple bouquet of freshly cut flowers on the kitchen table instead of five magazines, old vacation souvenirs and useless electronics. The spiritual cliche proves itself to be true again and again: the more we let go of our earthly possessions, the greater opportunity we have to expand in spirit.
– You can cherish and honor the memory without cherishing the stuff, which is just stuff. Sentimentality and nostalgia–the two kill-joys of efficient decluttering. Worried that donating family Christmas ornaments to a thrift store is akin to throwing away your family memories in the garbage? In the words of decluttering and organizing expert Julie Morgenstern, remember to SHED: "separate the treasures, heave the trash, embrace your identity from within and drive yourself forward."
– Once you’ve gotten rid of your unwanted stuff, be extremely conscious about future purchases that will take up space. Decluttering defeats its purpose if a few months later you are going to buy more stuff that will take up the newly opened space, which will get trashed in next year’s massive possession purge. Keep up the simplified life, and always challenge yourself to simplify more.


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