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1. De-clutter

January 3, 2010

It’s not always easy to part ways with our stuff, but its importance can’t be overstated. De-cluttering promotes a life detached from our things, frees up time and energy and fosters charitableness.

To start, identify an article of clothing, a piece of furniture or some random bauble that you no longer use. (Some of the things I’ve identified in the last several days include an umbrella, a sleeping bag, books, a fleece jacket, a suit and a few other articles of clothing.)

Next, rather than just making a mental note of the item(s), go ahead and actually move the items to a specific location in your home. Once you’ve collected 20 items or so, work on identifying recipients. Perhaps you have a friend who would like a book or movie you’re getting rid of, or maybe you know a family in need of one or more of your clothing items. Because it creates community, personal giving is preferable to anonymous donations (in my humble opinion). But either one is better than hording your stuff!

Whatever you do, don’t just throw your unwanted stuff out. If you must, recycle what you can, but there are numerous organizations such as Crisis Assistance Ministry and Common Heart, both of which are located here in Charlotte, that are more than happy to take your items and put them in the hands of individuals that may actually need them. If possible, seek out organizations like Crisis Assistance and Common Heart that will distribute your items free of cost.

Finally—and this is undoubtedly the hardest but also the most important part of de-cluttering—avoid replacing the items you’ve parted with. After all, the primary aim of de-cluttering is to engender simplicity, not to replace our “old” things with newer, more advanced stuff; that’s the complete opposite of simplicity. If simplifying your life is your goal, you should seek to posses less stuff at the end of each day.

With time, once you’ve jettisoned all of your unwanted stuff (the things that would have just ended up in the annual yard sale anyway), de-cluttering gets pretty difficult. Try to remember that the difficulty associated with de-cluttering stems from an unhealthy attachment to our stuff in the first place. The harder it is to get rid of something, the more important it is to do just that, and the more freeing it will be in the end.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2010 9:45 am

    Great Post, Matt! Hope to be getting rid of some stuff this week!

  2. Lando permalink
    January 6, 2010 4:24 pm


    • January 6, 2010 11:23 pm

      Ha! Still thinking about that one. I could always rent.

  3. Kay Owen permalink
    January 22, 2010 7:42 am

    I understand this concept and agree. We should never throw things away…even empty envelopes have a use. The other side of this coin…at least for me, is: I have many items…almost all handmade from earlier times that I live surrounded by…fabric, wood, glass, flowers. To me, they are all art and beautiful. Most important…as a visual person…when surrounded by this beauty I am more at peace and in a better place (mentally, emotionally) to be contemplative, grateful, joyful, loving and giving. In a space that’s neat, clean, organized and pretty (subjective) my heart is wide open. I’m interested…how do you feel about this? What’s your take on it? I’m never interested in debating…just interesting in opinions…I’m open to learning, new thoughts, new ways. xo


  1. Gandhi on De-cluttering, Jettisoning, Contributing to Flotsam « the cynic's tub
  2. Simplicity: It’s Far From Simple « the cynic's tub

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