“Out of clutter, find simplicity.” ~Albert Einstein
From day one we have defined frugality as the ability to embrace and enjoy what we have. But let’s just face it, sometimes what we “have” gets in the way — it becomes a burden and a distraction.
In this, my journey toward freedom, one of the biggest challenges in living a more frugal life has been de-cluttering my home and life. Yet it has been the most rewarding step. Now, instead of spending countless hours cleaning, organizing, rearranging, or shopping, I have time for people and things that really matter to me.
As with anything, de-cluttering can be made incredibly simple or incredibly difficult. For many people, their stuff represents status, success, and hard-work…there are memories and sentimental value tied to items which makes it difficult to just let go. For others, de-cluttering is as easy as going through their stuff, one section, closet, drawer, or shelf at a time, and getting rid of everything that isn’t absolutely essential.
How should we view clutter?
Over time, I’ve come to view my stuff in a completely different way. I most certainly appreciate the things I have, but know this…I could let any of it go at anytime. De-cluttering the home has allowed my family and I to:
- spend less money
- live more simply
- spend less time cleaning and organizing
- pay more attention to those things that really matter
Several people have had a great impact on shaping my thoughts surrounding clutter and simple living. Courtney Carver of Be More With Less is a leading clutterfree renegade! She is by far one of my personal blogging heroes…and it is an absolute honor for me to be able to present this interview I did with her.
Andrea: How did you start your be more with less journey?
Courtney: My desire to live with less started shortly after I was diagnosed with MS. I wanted to find ways to live a healthier life with less stress.
Andrea: How do clutter free and frugal living complement each other?
Courtney: Naturally, when you start to live with less, you want less and shop less. I’ve never described myself as frugal, but now that I see the benefits of living debt free and clutter free, my spending habits are definitely more frugal than they used to be.
Andrea: As a beginner, how would you suggest I start living clutter free?
Courtney: It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you realize how much stuff/debt you actually have. Start small and fill one small box with things you don’t need and donate it. Celebrate the accomplishment and repeat.
Andrea: How do you view stuff?
Courtney: I view stuff as something to let go of instead of something to accumulate. I think there is some stuff that adds value to our lives, but most is a distraction.
Andrea: Could you share a bit about invisible clutter and how it affects our lives?
Courtney: I consider invisible clutter anything from obligations to debt and even digital clutter like email and social media. We need to say yes to things we care about and no to things that we do out of guilt or boredom. Sometimes that means doing nothing until you figure out what means something to you.
Andrea: What are the benefits of living a clutter free life?
Courtney: The benefits include time, money, attention and clarity. For me the biggest benefits have been a healthier low stress lifestyle and being more present to engage in meaningful relationships.
Andrea: Moving forward, what are some strategies for preventing clutter?
Courtney: The easiest way to prevent clutter is to stop buying things. It sounds simple and it is. Really spend time thinking about what you buy and why. Implement a 30 day rule to any non-essential shopping. If you decide to buy something that you don’t need, wait 30 days and see if it still seems as important.
Now It’s Your Turn
Daily Goal: Create a plan for de-cluttering.
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Courtney Carver is the writer and founder of Be More with Less. The 42 year old wife and mother launched her blog in May 2010 to share a message of hope in simplicity. She left a 15 year career in sales and marketing in September 2011 to focus on writing, develop new ways to teach others to live more simply, and live a simpler life herself.
Courtney was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2006 and attributes her healthy lifestyle to simplifying every part of her life, from diet to debt. She moved from New England in 2004 to Salt Lake City where she lives with her husband, and 16 year old daughter.
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