Apparently, the 3 most stressful things in life are Death, Divorce, or Moving.
Death, though inevitable, is never a highlight. If it’s your own it may not be stressful of course, but the death of a friend or family member, often is. Divorce, can be everything from a 1-day internet experience, to years of drawn out legalities that leave a person spending the settlement on therapy; and then there’s moving. Finding a new home, shipping possessions, and dealing with contracts, all stressful stuff!
I am in the process of making my 25th(ish) move in 25 years. Some have been as simple as walking with a rucksack to a friend’s house and others have involved containers full from Singapore to Sydney, and then back to Singapore.
Stressful? Maybe a little, as also transporting a dog but with the move being to the hills of Northern Thailand, and a quieter part of the world, the expectation overrides any unwanted stress.
When you move a lot you look at the possessions you have and question what is really worth keeping. De-cluttering is an ongoing process and you tend only to hold on to the things that have some meaning or practical use.
The masters of de-cluttering are The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus. Two successful executives, who in their late 20’s had everything that was meant to make them happy: great six-figure jobs, nice cars, big houses with more bedrooms than inhabitants, pointless masses of toys, and scads of superfluous stuff. But did it? Not at all and as well as being unhappy they were working 70-80 hour weeks with no control of their own time.
Their approach and the philosophy they now teach, is minimalism: The practice of questioning what truly adds value in your life. By clearing the clutter you make room for the most important aspects such as, health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.
Minimalism goes against the grain of our predominantly consumerism culture, which promotes the acquisition of more ‘stuff’ to supposedly enhance our quality of life. How that quality is measured maybe more in relation to financial value than mental well-being, leaving many people feeling unfulfilled as a result.
More money can mean better living conditions, health care and education but what we often lose sight of, is the tipping point where purchasing becomes a therapeutic hobby to offer relief from the overtime needed to earn the money to buy the goods in the first place. Crazy? Maybe, though it’s what keeps the capitalist engine running and for many there seems no escape.
As Jarod Kintz wrote in Who Moved My Mouse, “A shopping cart flipped upside down forms a cage that I use to protect myself from consumerism.”
For me it’s more about practicality. Being self employed and moving countries creates a forced minimalism, but the benefits are still the same. No matter how nicely organized your clutter is, it’s still clutter. It takes up space physically and more importantly, holds you back mentally.
Being conscious of the possessions you have and how they add value to your life, should be a natural assessment that’s regularly made. With less stuff comes more freedom and additional benefits to the environment. Sure Wallmart’s bottom line might get hit, but at $34,880 profit per minute, I reckon they’ll survive.clutterconsciousConsumerismminimalismMinimalistsvalue