When owning too much stuff, encourages you to own more stuff

Do you have “that pile” of paperwork, mail, and other miscellaneous things near your front door? Maybe on your kitchen counter, in the mud room, or on top of the microwave? Ours is on our bar counter (at the top of our stairs when you enter the house). It’s an easy place to drop the main, the receipts from my purse, the magazine I keep meaning to read.

……And there it all sits for an indefinite amount of time. Until weeks later, it gets tall enough that I go through it, throw most of it away, and always inevitably tell myself “I should really get a basket here to catch this stuff”. ┬áSo the question is: should be buy more stuff to organize our stuff? I have also heard this argument regarding storage totes and fancy boxes. Should we get pretty boxes to store our stuff? Or should we maybe get rid of some of the stuff? I vote for the latter.

Maybe, instead of organizing all the random crap in the closet, pull it all out and see what you really, actually need. Do I need that tennis racket from when I swore I was going to take up tennis lessons? (the answer is clearly no, I never took a single lesson!) Do I need 3 sets of sheets? When one set is “just the back up because I never really liked the pattern and they’re scratchy”? GET RID OF THE SHEETS!! We have too much crap!

I am not saying go full minimalist on me if that’s not your jam. But be mindful. Pick one area of your house, I recommend the junk drawer, and go through it. Decide what you really need. And get rid of what you don’t. You can donate it, trash it, re-home it, repurpose it. So many people would love to make good use of your excess stuff.

I recommend trying apps like Next Door or Rooster for these things. That way they can find their way into the hands of your neighbors who will actually use them! I love it! Then, when I actually need a wine opener one day, I will go on Next Door and see if someone might be offering one up. I just love the idea. cleaning out my house and helping others. It’s a community event! How cool! It’s about keeping what you need, not buying more to organize the stuff you don’t.

So, now I think I’ll go tackle that pile of stuff on my counter. Wish me luck!

What I learned from my social media hiatus

So as mentioned in my previous post, I took a break from social media. It wasn’t THAT difficult, I don’t have most of the apps on my phone that many people do. No Snapchat, no Twitter, no Tumblr. But I did have Facebook and Instagram. How hard could it be, right?

Well, hard at first! I sat down to watch the morning news, coffee in hand, and immediately opened up my phone. Oops. Ok so I put it down and watched the news. And then opened the phone again. Drat. OK, harder than I thought.

So I decided to implement a filler. Anytime I went to open my phone, I would instead read a page (minimum) of whatever book I so choose. I love reading and don’t always have time to sit and really enjoy it, so maybe this addition would allow me to get more pages in! And let me tell you, this really helped. I opened my phone a third time, and thus remembered to pick up my book and go sit on the porch. I enjoyed my morning coffee and read a few pages.

It was calming and enjoyable. And how rarely do I sit outside at 7am reading my book? Almost never until this experiment! It was so nice to take that extra time and enjoy something that I love.

I always carry a book in my bag just in case, and this allowed me to really utilize it. Waiting for my tires to get changed? Read the book. Doctor’s appointment waiting room? Book. It turned the standard boring wait times into enjoyable blips in my day. Maybe I only read a page, but it was still better than staring at my screen.

So let’s look big picture. For one thing, I read WAY more on any given day than I might otherwise. Additionally, I felt happier. I wasn’t on Facebook seeing all the shit going on in the world. Yes I still read the New York Times daily, but it was quality writing and I read only what I chose to. I also didn’t make nearly as many impulse purchases as I normally would. I have instagram to blame for that. I am such a sucker for “omg those cute shoes!” Did I need the shoes? I think you know the answer. So it really helped keep my spending in check. If you can’t see the things other people are spending money on, you are not likely to spend that money yourself.

All in all, it was a great experiment for me. So where do I stand now? I deleted the Facebook app and don’t intend to put it back on my phone. If I want to see how friends or family are doing I can go on a computer and look it up. I won’t delete my account as I like to keep in touch with some people that way. But I won’t have it on my phone. I put instagram back on my phone, but made it harder to get to. I have to deliberately go looking for it in order to open the app. That way I think about it before actually looking at it. This seems to be a good balance for me, and I’m happy with it for the time being. I also unfollowed all unnecessary accounts.

Generally I’d say I feel better about things in general since this little experiment. And I definitely am making more structured time to read each day. So what about you? What habits are you working on and has anyone else cut out social media?