Z is for Zap Your Crap
I used to accumulate lots of stuff.
My routine on Saturday mornings was shopping at Target, Pier 1 Imports, HomeGoods, maybe a few other fun home decorating stores, and then buying groceries before heading home.
Not only was I wasting time, I was spending money on crap I didn't even need.
Sure, I like having a comfortable home environment, but that hardly means it must be stuffed with piles of pillows, meaningless knick-knacks cluttering my shelves, generic paintings on my walls, and dish sets galore bursting out of my cabinets.
Finally, I decided to zap my crap.
I re-analyzed my rationale "I might need this someday..."
Really? I might need this thing someday? How precious is this thing? If it's a family heirloom, then okay. You may want to keep that piece of memorabilia.
But most items I truly thought about were easily replaceable. If I ever even needed to replace the thing.
So why didn't I want to sell or donate the stuff?
- I don't like spending money twice on the same thing.
- I spent time and effort collecting that basket of whatevers.
- I spent time and effort organizing the multiple containers of whatevers.
- I spent money buying the containers to collect the whatevers.
The more I thought about my stuff, the more I realized how much time, money, effort, and energy was placed in things. That realization resonated with me.
At that point, I started boxing up various items and making weekly trips to Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other donation stores/bins.
If you're having a hard time, zapping your crap, slow down and make incremental progress.
1. Start with a small space.
One piece of storage furniture or a smaller closet. If you're really hesitant, start with your "junk drawer." I wrote about this process in my post "Minimalism Mini-Project: Rethink the Junk Drawer."
2. Determine a time line you're comfortable with.
Do you want to clear out one tiny space each week? Each month?
Do you want to break larger spaces into zones? Clear out the crap in bits and pieces, or would you prefer to tackle the larger areas on a weekend or other structured time?
3. Consider various questions as you de-clutter.
- Does the item still work? Or how long has it been broken? Are you really going to get it fixed?
- Is the item worn and torn?
- Is the item missing any pieces?
- When was the last time you used the item?
- If you needed the item in future, could you borrow it instead?
- How many of these items do you own? How many do you really need?
- Did someone give you the item? Are you placing a higher sentimental value on it than perhaps you should?
- Did you receive this item as a freebie? Or did you buy it at a deep discount? Are you placing a higher value on the "I scored a great deal" factor than on how much you actually need or use the item?
A question I hear from people when I tell them I blog about minimalism: What if I like the idea of minimalism and zapping my crap, but there's no way I could actually get rid of all of my stuffs?
Can you create one room that embraces minimalism? Dedicate one space in your home, even a corner, where you don't accumulate the consumer crap.
Essentially, you could just be re-locating a good deal of the stuffs. Ideally, you'd at least eliminate some things that you realize you could do without. Those broken items. Anything expired. The junk you may have been meaning to get rid of for some time now.
Once you create one minimalism haven, just be sure to keep it as your little sanctuary. Try out less stuff in one room or one space.
Maybe you'll like that space so much that this experiment inspires you to zap the rest of your crap. Maybe not. Either way, you'll have a better feel for minimalism and whether or not it's a life style choice you want to make.