We all know that decluttering and getting organized can help us feel more relaxed, save money, and be more productive. But sometimes, it’s just really hard to get rid of stuff. Whether you’re attached to your things, feel guilty about decluttering, or feel like you’re being wasteful, the anxious feeling of having to get rid of something you might need later on is very real.
I experienced this anxious feeling last week while decluttering our pantry (yet again). I had decided that I wanted to make our most-used items more accessible. I use our mixing bowls daily, so I wanted to put them on an easy-to-reach shelf in our pantry, instead of in a lower cabinet in our kitchen. As I started to move the mixing bowls from the cabinet to the shelf, I realized just how many mixing bowls we had. Twelve!
I like to cook, but there’s no way I’m ever going to need twelve mixing bowls.
Yet, I found it really difficult to get rid of even just a few of the bowls. Some were gifts. Some were beautiful. Some were my husband’s before we got married. Some were super-useful and multi-purpose.
I was stuck. Then, I remembered the concept of “leveling.”
Joshua Becker writes about “leveling” in his book, The More of Less. When you’re practicing “leveling,” you move your excess stuff to a storage space. This frees you up to decide whether the items you’re storing away are worth keeping, and it lets you experience what it’s like to live without all of the excess stuff.
I decided to do some “leveling” myself. I packed up all of the bowls except for the super-useful ones, and my husband’s bowls, and I put the box in a closet. It’s been a week, and so far I’ve done just fine with only six bowls. 😉
The Power of Leveling
In The More of Less, Becker tells the story of a young lady who wanted to travel the world. She had a location-independent job, and she could work from anywhere she wanted. However, instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to travel, she was stuck. She had an apartment full of stuff that she couldn’t bring herself to leave.
Becker suggested that she practice “leveling” and put all of her stuff in storage. That way, she could travel the world, and not have to worry about getting rid of all of her things. When she came back from her travels, she probably wouldn’t even miss most of her stuff.
Anyone can practice “leveling.” Want to minimize your wardrobe? Try a capsule wardrobe trial run. Tired of your dining room being taken over by craft supplies? Box it up and see if you really miss the stuff.
Experiment with Less
Becker also suggests experimenting with less. Challenge yourself to go 29 days without using a certain item you might want to get rid of. If you can live without it for 29 days, you probably don’t need it. By experimenting with less, you can give yourself the experience of not having the stuff you want to declutter. If, after 29 days, you find that you don’t need the item any more, you can get rid of it with confidence. If, during the 29 days you find that you need the items, you can decide to keep them.
The More of Less includes tons of stories, inspiration, and ideas to help you declutter, scale back, and focus on what is truly important for you. If you’ve ever wanted to scale back and minimize, this book is a good guide for helping you do it in a realistic way.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.