I’ve found myself looking back a lot lately on how I’ve chosen to live my life. To skip a thesis, I’ve come to the conclusion that having a lot of stuff is unhealthy, whether in the physical or digital space. Those that know me know that I’m a huge advocate of Fumio Sasaki’s “Goodbye, Things” book on not only reducing physical clutter but the mental clutter your things can produce, even if you may not realise it.
These days, everyone knows about Marie Kondo and her cleaning methods, which I 100% agree with and support, but what she doesn’t go into much detail on is the mental benefit you get when you reduce the stuff that you have. I have a much sharper mind by just having less physical stuff, and I feel less stressed for it as well. I’ve got more space in my mind to focus on things that are more important to me, and I didn’t know that my possessions were one of the things holding me back.
Over the last 12 months, I’ve slowly but surely reduced the number of things I own to approximately half what I had before. That sounds like a huge task, but it’s surprisingly easy. Start with your clothes and see how it makes you feel. If you get a real kick out of throwing stuff out, keep going. It’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done. Once you’re done with physical things, move on to the digital world.
Do you have social media accounts you don’t use anymore? If you do, why do you still have them? Are you keeping them as a ‘just in-case’ you want to use that service again, or the ‘what if’ of not wanting people to think you’re abandoning them? To that I say: Don’t let social media run your life. We’ve evolved for thousands of years without social media platforms, we certainly don’t need them in our lives. Yes they serve a communication purpose, but ask yourself if you’re ‘following’ pages and friends that you want to see.
The infinite scroll of social media is designed to make you keep looking ad advertisements, and often I found myself scrolling through posts I had zero interest in. In 2018 I did a massive scan of my social media pages and chose to see only the things I was interested in on on news feeds. Since then, I’ve spent significantly less time on social media, and my mind feels clearer for it. There are many ways to keep in contact with people, but needlessly scrolling photos in Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (and viewing irrelevant advertisements in the process) is a complete waste of time. I recently deleted my Snapchat account and noticed that I’m going nowhere near my mobile plan data allowance limit and my iPhone battery lasts for significantly longer throughout the day.
What I’ve done may not work for you, but at least give it some thought: What would reducing physical and Digital clutter do for your mental wellbeing? I can say from experience, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.
“Goodbye, Things” by Fumio Sasaki
“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Mario Kondo