Don’t have too much stuff

Recently, I’ve been thinking back with deep nostalgia to a simpler time and a different place.
1956 in Goshen, Ind. My husband was a student and I had a full-time job in public relations at Goshen College.
We lived in the trailer park with other students, and our trailer measured eight feet wide and 36 feet long. It was like playing house.
We had a living room with a couch, end table, and lamp. An efficient kitchen with a drop-leaf table that hung on the wall when not in use. A study/ham radio room for my husband.
A bedroom with a tiny closet. A four by four-foot bathroom with a shower. And we shared a portable Royal typewriter that was stored in a little suitcase.
That was it! Life was so simple—and I loved it!
Fast forward 57 years to 2013. Now we live in a three-bedroom house with too many closets to count–all full of clothes we rarely wear.
We have two offices, two computers, two scanners, two printers, and hundreds of books in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
I love our house, but I’m frustrated with the contents.
When I did a little research on the topic, I found that I’m just reflecting the times! Producer Gary Ross says it well: “In a complex and troubling world, who wouldn’t want to simplify? Everybody does.
“Everybody wants to simplify and put up a picket fence.”
In his book “It’s All Too Much,” clutter expert Peter Walsh says essentially the same thing. “Something is changing the basic fabric of people’s lives and is impacting the things we own.
“We are, as a nation, overwhelmed with too much stuff.”
Walsh calls it an “orgy of consumption.”
The whole title of his book is “It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff.”
First, Walsh suggests, imagine the life you want and the home you want to live in. Then set out a plan to achieve your goal.
Think about the cost of clutter–all the money you have spent for things you don’t really need and that don’t make life better.
And think about the emotional cost–the need to constantly move things around, the embarrassment of having a messy house, and the feeling of being overwhelmed.
“Stuff has a way of creeping into and overtaking our homes,” says Walsh.
Don’t let it happen!
To get started working on your goal, take Walsh’s Clutter Quiz, including these questions: Do your clothes fit in your closet? What’s on your dining room table right now?
And forget about excuses such as these: I might need it one day, it’s worth a lot of money, and, the most devastating excuse of all, I don’t have time.
Don’t make excuses. Just do it!
Change is hard but it is liberating, says Walsh. Make de-cluttering part of your daily life. Take two trash bags and spend 10 minutes in one room–one bag for trash and one bag to give or sell.
Do that daily and in one week, you will notice a difference. In a month, others will notice.
In three months, you will have conquered clutter and will have a new sense of inner peace!
Write Marie Snider at