I did my first Weeklong last week. Everyday Monday through Friday I picked 5 things to throw out or give away. My PHD in multiplication equates that to 35 things.
Note* I only make my bed for photos I post on my blog
My motivation for this Weeklong was the following:
- I hate clutter and I live in a small apartment
- Graham Hill’s Ted Talk: Less Stuff, More Happiness
- Interest in cultivating a greater understanding of my personal happiness
The first 10 things were easy to get rid of: books I’ve already read and crappy shirts from startup events were low-hanging fruit. But when I started getting past item #20, it became more difficult to part with things.
“But what if I want to wear that shirt” – “There might be a theme party where that could be useful” – “I might want to watch that movie again” – “I highlighted in that book; I want to save those notes!”
These were the internal skirmishes I encountered.
When I was brutally honest with myself, all of these fabricated battles were total crap. I rotate 2 pairs of jeans and wear the same 10 shirts. I never go through my old book highlights. That movie actually sucked and I hate re-watching movies that are less than awesome.
It got me thinking more broadly about “things” and why we accumulate them. I realized that I don’t love things, but the experiences they enable. I like clothes because I like going somewhere and feeling like I look good. I just bought a squash racket so I can play Squash. I have books because I love the experience of getting lost and learning.
The reason that I was holding onto these things was fear that I couldn’t replicate an experience these items facilitated. Generally, my fear was unwarranted. I only need about ⅓ of all the things I have (or less) to replicate the experiences/feelings that are important to me. Everything else just weighs me down in some form or another.
Thirty five things later, I agree with Graham Hill’s maxim less = more:
- I have more space
- I have less desire to go blow money on “things” (more money!)
- I am less stressed because I have less extraneous clutter (more happiness)
- I feel good about giving stuff away
I’m going to keep getting rid of stuff.