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Introduction. Living Simply or being a Minimalist ultimately means that we have faced the facts about owning too much clutter and have begun working on reducing the amount of items that we own within our homes. As we continue with the decluttering process, the beneficial changes that this brings to our lives range from small to quite significant. The initial change that happens is that we realize that there is an unbalance between what we own and the space that we have to live in. Noticing and becoming increasingly aware of this unbalance is what leads us to one of the biggest changes for us, and will be a constant focus to help us re-balance the amount of items that we have in our homes.
In considering the unbalance and over-abundance of belongings that we own, will at one point or another in our Simple Living journeys, lead us to realize that our excess belongings do NOT give us the security that we want to achieve in our lives and in our homes. So, how does this excess actually take away from the security that we are trying to establish in our lives? To look at this, we have to realize what security means to us; defining it so that it can be used to help us with our decluttering goals and projects in the future.
Each of us have our own, defining ideas of what security is for us. However, there are a number of things in common that each of us needs to feel secure. Obviously, having a home to live in, food and water, and appropriate clothes for the area and seasons that we live. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary also includes “freedom from danger”1 as well as “freedom from fear and anxiety”2 to the ideas of what security is and what we need to feel that security.
So, when we think of these elements of security, how does having too many possessions take away our security? First and foremost, it can cause us a lot of anxiety and worry. Anxiety over how the house looks and feels due to the excess in our homes. Not only do we have to constantly pick it all up and at times, clean around it, but we also end up worrying about needing to eventually declutter the extra, unwanted items in our homes.
This issue has caused a great amount of items to be donated, which is great in many ways. However, there is a lot of items that donation centers and thrift stores cannot take, so there is such a great amount of decluttered items being sent to landfills. Overall, it is a huge problem in a number of ways for us to deal with and worry about.
Another aspect of this that causes us a huge amount of anxiety or worry is about the space that the clutter takes up and the amount of time that it will take to declutter our living spaces. This process of decluttering is very valuable and rewarding to do in the long run. However, it can take up a great deal of time to accomplish; taking time away from family and friends, as well as the loss of time that could be given towards our favorite activities or hobbies.
When we have too much clutter, these factors are ones that we definitely face in order to declutter our homes. Even though it is a big downside, decluttering rather than ignoring the issue will prevent the eventual, decluttering process from being a terribly difficult process. It also prevents our living spaces from becoming too much to deal with, prevents safety issues and concerns, and reduces the anxiety and worry that we have over the project itself of decluttering our homes.
An additional cause for worry on the clutter in our homes is the amount of money that we have spent on all of these excess objects. Many times, we buy items with such good intentions; we want to buy things for others as well as ourselves, thinking that it will give happiness or fulfill a need. Of course both of these reasons are reasonable ones for buying something. There are several things to consider before purchasing:
- Do we have the extra money for what we want to purchase?
- How well is the product made?
- Do we have room/a place for this item?
- Will this item be used for at least six months to a year – or even longer?
If after answering these questions, we still think purchasing the item will be something that we still want, it may be a good idea to wait a pre-defined period of time (ex: a few days or even a week), to prevent us from making impulse purchases. If we can slow down the amount of items coming into our homes, the less items that we will have to declutter in the future. In regards to helping the environment, the less that we purchase/consume, the more that we will be able to all help in contributing to bettering the environment by preventing so much consumer waste.
So, the less that we buy unnecessary items or ones that are questionable in terms of the length of time that we will need or want them, the less resources will be used and taken from our environment. By carefully considering our purchases before we buy, the less we are negatively impacting our natural resources, the more money that we will save, and the more that we are preventing clutter from infiltrating our homes.
All of the points that we have be talking about demonstrate that having excess belongings in our homes and lives does not give us the security that it initially appears to. Between the:
- 1. Anxiety and worry
- 2. Increased debt or loss in savings
- 3. Loss of space due to clutter
- 4. Possible safety issues depending on the amount of clutter
- 5. The amount of work and time needed to declutter in order to get our homes’ possessions within an initial, reasonable order
An additional issue, outside of the security problems in our homes and lives, is the personal impact and responsibility that we have on the environment due to our purchases. The negative impact of over-consuming is a problem that can impact our security as well. The scarcity of natural resources and damage to our ecological systems will in fact be something that we as a society need to continue addressing.
In regards to our consumption, I am not suggesting that we forego purchasing items that we need and occassionally want. However, I think that we should always consider and try to be increasingly mindful and careful of what we purchase – and how often we do so. If we can do this to help slow the amount of items coming into our homes, along with regular decluttering that we do in a responsible way, we can lessen the impact on the environment and build the extra security that we desire in our homes and in our lives.
What area of your home do you plan to start working on decluttering? What items are the most difficult ones for you to declutter? What additional things can we do to continue to improve our environment and make it better for everyone? •
Please leave your thoughts of how excess belongings effect all of us in the Comments’ section below, we would love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Thank you for visiting Simplicity’s Journey. Take care and see you again soon!
1, 2 – “Security” Definition. (2021). Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online. Accessed 12.17.2021. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/security#learn-more
wikiHow Staff. “How to Add a Website to a Bibliography”. wikiHow to do anything… (09.15.2021). Accessed 12.19.2021. https://www.wikihow.com/Add-a-Website-to-a-Bibliography