All I Want Is Less

There were times when I entered my bedroom and wanted to leave it again. Too many things scattered around everywhere. I simply had too many things. When you have so much stuff you cannot organize it properly and you are never alone anymore.

At a point when it reached critical mass, I started throwing things away. It was so difficult to let go of stuff two thirds of which I had not even used in the past year. It reminded me of wonderful moments which I cherished a lot. But a very wise person says: You need to get rid of something in order to let something else enter your life.

I gave my clothes away to the poor. I hope they needed it. I deleted most of the files on my hard drive. I bought a new phone and wrote down only the necessary phone numbers. And I felt like dancing, because it felt so light all of a sudden. But it was not enough. So I packed up all of my stuff and moved. And only three months later I deleted all the 1272 unread emails and realized what it meant to be free.

Most of us keep on collecting things throughout our lives without even noticing how many of them we actually need. Of course we need the grill for that one party that happens every spring, and a bag for the surfing board (Even though I have sold my old board, but I might always buy a new one, and what will I do without a bag?). What we do not notice is that all the things we own take our energy. When we clean, we need to move them, organize and reorganize them, and when looking for something, we need to go through so much stuff before finding the one thing needed. Moreover, we spend a lot of money on buying more stuff and hording our houses with an ice-cream maker, a yoghurt-maker, that spinning thing to dry salad leaves and five new little black dresses.

We do not stop collecting things, but continue getting too many acquaintances and hanging out with all those people six nights per week talking over a beer at a bar. We also sign up for the newsletters from booking, coursera, expedia, the power of green smoothies, and who knows what else, just to spend the first half an hour at work procrastinating over the recipe of the new mango blueberry smoothie, then looking at which online shop we can buy blueberry and finding that this shop also sells bran, and then a new email distracts us, so we forget about buying bran for one more year.

We collect things, people, emails, houses, cars, notebooks, and spend time to organize, reorganize, maintain them, pay bills and pay out debts. What we could do, is be mindful with whatever it is we obtain. And make sure we need it. The energy and money we get from saving and restricting our desires can be used for experiences and gifts to others. One can get the most from giving, and if you have given before, you know it. Sell your iPad and spend the energy saved on cooking a family meal with your mom on Thursdays, or organizing a family reunion every month. Or looking at the stars at night. Move to a new country. Stop seeing a person who is always mean to you and start growing flowers on your window sill. Do things that make you smile. You will become so free that many doors will open, because sometimes less is more.

Cleaning the outer environment for a calmer mind

10 ways to clean up your life

  1. Unsubscribe from useless newsletters
  2. Delete some numbers from your phone book
  3. Clean your closet
  4. Stop talking to those people who always make you feel bad
  5. Replace one bad habit (like smoking) by a good habit (like 20 minutes of yoga in the morning)
  6. Delete all those old files from your computer
  7. Donate the books you never read to a library
  8. Give your old jewellery to your niece
  9. Clean your cupboards and the fridge from expired food.
  10. Meditate and clean your mind

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