Own less, enjoy more

It’s more than 20 years since I began writing “This Side of 60” and now I know which column topics are the most popular.
No question about it: “clutter” is number-one. I get more e-mails and comments after a clutter column than any other topic.
It seems everyone has the same problem–too much “stuff.” And it weighs us down!
Early on, I often wrote about clutter because we had lived in the same house for more than 20 years and I was feeling overwhelmed by the things in our lives.
Built in 1970, our new house was sparsely-furnished at first, and my husband had designed lots of storage spaces. We had no clutter!
But as we lived, we brought more and more things into the house–dishes . . . shoes . . . paintings . . . file folders . . . sheets and pillow cases . . . toys . . . furniture . . . books.
And, gradually, our “new” house filled up.
But 20 years ago, I began de-cluttering and have made progress. Today, I feel comfortable in my spaces. They aren’t perfect but they’re good enough for me.
Thus, there’s nothing to write about!
But earlier this year, my daughter said, “It’s time for you to write a column about clutter.”
“Good idea,” I replied. “And I have lots of Kindle books on the topic.”
At which she said, “Why use an old book. There must be some fresh new ideas around.”
So I followed her advice and came up with a brand new book–published in November—entitled “Simplify” by Joshua Becker.
I was attracted to Becker’s book because of its simplicity and brevity–46 pages. With a steaming cup of tea on the cover, the book suggests you’ll have lots of time to sit down and relax if you simplify.
The full title is “Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life.”
Becker began his quest for simplicity in his garage a few years ago. What began as a cleaning project ending with his young family selling, giving, or trashing 70 percent of their possessions.
Since then, Becker has become a spokesman for simplicity in books, speaking, and media appearances.
Becker praises the value of owning less in order to enjoy life more. Stop accumulating, he says.
You will spend less and have less stress. It will be easier to clean your house. And, most important of all, you’ll have time to follow your dreams.
His “7 Guiding Principles” are helpful for any age of person, especially those who have been collecting things for 70 or 80 years!
Most helpful for me are: 3). Jump right in and 5). Persevere.
Begin with small manageable tasks, Becker advises, and you’ll find that “Victory leads to victory.”
Do the easiest spaces first and progress to the thorny ones. Begin with your vehicles, living room, dining room, guest room . . . and end with storage rooms and the garage.
As you simplify, take all items out of each space and sort them into three categories–keep, discard, move to new home. If the item requires a new home, put it there immediately.
So why not get started right now. And enjoy living more by owning less!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@cox.net

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