More than a decade ago, I listened to an audio book called “Stop Clutter from Stealing Your Life.” It was straight out of the “self help” play book and was the story of an obsessive hoarder’s struggle with the emotions that accompany decluttering.
I vividly remember pausing and looking around my room – a tiny student dorm room – and realizing that I had found a way to fill every nook and cranny with stuff. So, I put the book on loudspeaker and began decluttering.
In the next two or so hours, I removed about half of my stuff. Gone. Forever.
It felt fantastic.
Decluttering has since become a yearly ritual (half-yearly in good years :-)) that has impacted my life in a very positive way. Declutter day has since evolved to become a day to donate clothes / items I haven’t used in the last year.
While this exercise inspires gratitude, the beauty about regular decluttering is that it forces a higher awareness on what we purchase. Over time, we become better at identifying items that will, in all likelihood, end up in next year’s declutter pile. As a result, the number of items that are part of this decluttering ritual have gone down over time.
From experiencing the emotions of a hoarder a decade ago, I am grateful for the joys of relative minimalism. And, most importantly, I am grateful to David Elias and Mike Nelson for writing about their journey.
PS: In case you are considering reading the book, the suggestions in the book are likely pretty outdated (I vaguely remember old software programs being suggested) – but, the principles are evergreen.