Simplify your life.

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I have been reading quite a lot on minimalism and simplifying these days. It is a great time to start decluttering a house or apartment now that spring is here. If you look around your house and see all your stuff you will find things you use a lot, items that are just handy or useful or many products you cannot live without or cannot get by without. Also clothes you wear all the time. However, there will also be a lot of junk. Well, you do not go out to buy junk obviously so at the time when you purchased it it was necessary for something but now it is in bags in the garage, in some drawers or closets and maybe even covered in spiderwebs and dust.

Look in your closet. Honestly, isn’t it always the same you wear? Your favorite pieces? And how much stuff hangs in there that you never wore – sometimes the tag is still attached. I know all this because this was my situation. Most important is to realize that there is nothing special about any brand name. Most of the time the clothes are produced in the same factories in Bangladesh/China you name it and it is just cheap quality even though you pay a fortune. Always remember, your clothes do not define you! I always had this feeling that I was how I looked; I was what I wore but this is not true. The idea is not necessarily to have less clothing (even though this is the goal in the long run) but to question yourself why you have the clothing you have. Do you need ALL these jeans, pants, skirts? The problem is that we hang on to a lot of things because maybe we fit in these clothes again, or we need these jars, boxes, cans at some point again.

Less is usually more – even though all you see on a daily basis is that the only sure sign of success is having more. A fancier car, a bigger TV, a bigger house to put even more stuff in or a bigger car. The list is endless.

I remember the time when I arrived in New York to start my “new life”. My entire life fit in two suitcases but I was happy. Of course I had no apartment at that time but it was fine. The realization that I could just pack my little most valuable things and go was awesome. Now with a baby however it is not that easy anymore. But we still manage with ONE suitcase when we travel.

Some people do wake up at a point and see that we are just part of a system. In the “developed world” it usually goes like this: You usually go to school for a certain number of years. Then you get a job, find a partner and then you settle down to raise a family. But in all this time you become a dedicated consumer and you raise other, smaller consumers who will follow in your footstep. I thought about this the other day looking at my son’s toys. He does not have too many because I am aware of the fact that he wants something in the store sooooo badly but plays with it for one or two days and then it is with all the other toys and he does not look at it anymore. What he loves the most is to play with things we work with and use on a daily basis. So why buy him a “kids vacuum cleaner” when he can play with a real one for example?

You go to a store to buy an endless series of so many things that matter to you and you pay carful attention to the brands, things and products that you believe define you and you feel sooooo much better after you walked out of the store with a huge bag of stuff but does all this make you really happy in the long run? Think about if you really need these things. Here I came up with some tips that were helpful for me. Stop buying new stuff. Stop replacing old stuff with new. Just buy less. Ask yourself every time you want to purchase something in a store: “Do I really need this”? Also: Go through all your old stuff first and see what you really need. Do wear ALL your clothes you have in your closet first. Look at all the stuff you have not worn yet. Declutter. I have started by decluttering one item a day. However, maybe you have to start with more. It depends how much stuff you have piled up everywhere. See what you really want to keep – toss the rest. Declutter the easy stuff first. Your closet. Clothing that you do not wear anymore. (clothing you have not worm for one year – toss it! Or clothing you think you might fit in again at some point – toss them! If you fit in a smaller size again you can guy small size clothing) Over-equipping your house. Be realistic about your needs. How many linen, towels, dishes do you need? In the event of an unusually large number of family members or guest arriving you can borrow from friends or family – even neighbors. My husband and I are planning to build our own house and I know exactly how it is supposed to look. Simple, clean and minimalistic. With a lot of wood, windows, air and space.

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