How to Streamline and Declutter Your World – the Psychology of Minimalism
by Dr Kirsten Hunter
When you have fewer possessions, you have a quieter mind.
Your home needs to be your sanctuary. Do you ever feel that you are working for your possessions, they are the master and you are the servant? You come home from the carefree time of holidays to find that you are surrounded by a whole lot of stuff. You feel bogged down, you are always tidying, cleaning, sorting and finding something that you have lost ‘it’s got to be somewhere in the house!’
We are enormously affected by our home environment. Our homes can either nourish us or stress us. Is your home a calm, joyful and positive space? Our home needs to be our sanctuary from the chaos of the world. If our home is cluttered, then it just becomes another stressor in our lives, and we don’t find it to be a calming or inspiring space. And when we get depressed about this, we are even less likely to have the energy, morale or motivation to take the lead to streamline our homes. We have a problem. We need to set ourselves up so that we enjoy our homes.
Buying Less ‘Stuff’ Means Having Less ‘Stuff’
Remember that the happy buzz of buying stuff won’t last (sometimes not even minutes).
Think about how many hours you have worked to pay for the stuff. Is it worth it?
After you buy it, it just becomes more ‘stuff’ to store, often barely worth selling.
Wake up from society’s con job. It’s not the latest purchase that makes us happy, it is the simple pleasures like a hearty laugh, a good outing, a good conversation and natural beauty around you.
Streamlining is About Avoiding Decision Fatigue
When we have a lot of stuff and a lot going on, we have a lot of choice. When we are anxious, making choices and decision making become very difficult. When we struggle with decision making, we get more stressed. We are having a mild threat response. We get foggy in our mind. It all gets too hard. When we simplify and streamline life, we skip making the daily small decisions. We can reserve our mental energy. Now that’s smart. Don’t use your effort, your attention, and time on small, silly decisions. We need to streamline the mundane, small stuff.
Highly effective people have streamlined their routine decisions. They have a version of a work uniform, an exercise routine, a healthy food routine, and a routine for catching up with loved ones. They save their headwork each day. This is about skipping indecision and vagueness and using your brain power for important decisions. We can then focus on what matters like our loved ones, more enjoyment, areas of growth, and creativity. We can avoid decision fatigue.
How to Streamline my Home
Look around and ask yourself: do I enjoy my kitchen? If the answer is no, what can you do to reduce your possessions down to what you functionally need? If you moved to a new house, what would you keep and what would you give away? You are not a storage unit. You are more important than that. What is most important is that you enjoy your space. Remember, your kitchen needs to be functional and a sanctuary for you.
Now turn your attention and apply this same conversation to your clothes, your laundry, your office, your bedroom, your lounge area… continue through the whole house. Take one area at a time. Make a list of house areas, allocate one area per week. If you are not giving away loads of ‘stuff’, then you are being a storage unit! Get serious about your enjoyment of your home, and the streamlining of your day-to-day life. Enjoy your nest, simple!