How to Save Money & Feel Experience More Joy
Start with a Clean Slate
Imagine a natural disaster stripped you clean of your home and all your possessions. What would you feel? Grief? Sadness?
Can you imagine a feeling relief? No?
We overestimate how happy possessions can make us. That’s why we purchase something new and cling to the things we already have, even if we don’t enjoy them anymore.
But we need to be careful, or the things we own can start to own us. It isn’t just the buying, organizing, and cleaning of our things that swallows up our time and energy. Things can begin to take up our mind space as well.
In the back of our mind, the closets are nagging at us to organize or the laundry that needs to be washed or folded and put away. There are the objects we have planned to use, but never have, and the books we’ve intended to read but never have summoned enough interest.
Walking into a cluttered room constricts our sense of ease. Clear out a room, add open, blank space, and a sense of sweetness returns. There is nothing to steal our attention away from relaxing.
Open up space, and you open up time and possibility.
It may seem counterintuitive, but to save money, we first need to release as many of our possessions as possible to start with a clean slate. This exercise will help still the hunger for the acquisition of new things.
Fear will be our enemy. If we’re going to commit to spending less money, isn’t that all the more reason to hang on to all our stuff? We could need it. It would be stupid and wasteful to buy a replacement, right? So we grasp and hold on.
We don’t need to repress the fear or fight it, but open space for it. The key is to convince yourself that you can live with the minimal and be happy.
Steps to Freedom from Things
Get some heavy duty garbage bags and cardboard boxes. Schedule a week where you can devote each evening and the entire weekend to clear your house down to the basics. Next, assign one or two rooms to each day of the week.
Imagine you need to pack for a trip to stay in an empty apartment. You can only pack for your trip with one small suitcase per room.
Place everything in the room you can’t live without carefully folded or placed in the center of the room or on the bed. Take everything else and put it in the trash bags and cardboard boxes labeled with the room name. Place the boxes and bags into your attic, basement, or in an unused space in your home.
Proceed room by room each day until the end of the week.
Don’t forget personal care items, cleaning supplies, and office supplies. Place these also in their boxes and take down to the basement as well.
Women may find it particularly difficult to clear all personal care and beauty products into a box and place it away. Don’t agonize. You aren’t throwing or giving away anything yet.
Your home should be a clean slate by the end of the week. The goal now is to live a minimalistic life for the next thirty days. You may be tempted to retrieve items from your boxes and bags. Resist the temptation and write the article on a list.
At the end of the month evaluate your experience and your list. How many items that were packed away did you miss? How much time or energy was set free by living minimally? How did you feel emotionally?
You now have a few options. You can continue living minimally for one more month, or you can already enter stage two of release.
Set aside another week. Go through one or two room’s worth of belongings per day. Take an empty bag and empty boxes with you. Take each belonging out of the bag or box one by one and experience how the item makes you feel.
Decide on ‘release’ or ‘keep.’ If the decision is release, then place the item in the bag or box. If it is for keeping, then put it on the floor and keep going.
At the end of the session take your keep belongings and find each its own home where you will always return the item in the future after use. Give or throw away your release bag.
Why should you take the extra step of placing belongings for a month in a basement or attic? Why not just play the release or keep game from the beginning?
Most people find it difficult to release their things, even if they don’t use or even like them. But fear does not spike and clutch when you are storing items for a month instead of getting rid of them. This gives you a window of time to experience and evaluate.
Once you live minimally for a month, you find out whether you can be happy without the things that have previously filled up your home and life. The next game of release or keep is more comfortable and more productive.
Trouble Letting Go?
If you’re having trouble letting go, then it’s time to do some self-reflection.
Who will you be without your possessions to define you?
You may be clutching to things because they boost your ego and define your sense of self-worth and value.
No, I’m not kidding. Don’t dismiss this as being untrue too quickly. Clothes, jewelry, our furniture, cars, even kitchen appliances can be used to send a message about the type of person we are to other people. A particular style can make us feel unique and special and make us feel exciting and worth knowing or loving.
The necklace you wear could be sending the message ‘I’m loved this much,” or the watch ‘I’m this successful.’ Your blender could send the message that you’re health orient