There are certain words I use all the time, even if I don’t realize it. If you ask anyone who knows me well, they will tell you that one of those words, undoubtedly, is “unnecessary.”
Everyone who knows me knows that I hate having things that I consider to be unnecessary. This is completely ironic for me because as a kid, I was that person whose closet could not hold even one more piece of paper before the doors busted open and who was surely housing some unknown creature in the abyss known as “under the bed.” I kept everything.
Somewhere along the line I discovered how much I don’t like having things that I don’t use. I hate clutter and I hate waste. I wish this meant that my house was always perfectly spic and span, but I am still balancing who I am now and that 10-year-old kid who collected every sticker, magazine poster, and stuffed animal I could get my hands on. I am slowly learning how valuable it is to have what you need, want, and will use while saying no to things you don’t need, want, or use. As Americans, we are bred with such a consumer mentality; we are programmed to associate having more things with having more happiness and it just isn’t true. I’ve found that having less stuff frees my mind to focus on the things that are most important to me, and those things are never actually things at all.
“Unnecessary” will forever be one of my most used words. I literally delight in discovering something to be unnecessary; for me, it is both freeing and rewarding. It means there is one less material thing for me to be distracted by, thus opening one more space to connect with something greater spiritually.
When you deem something to be necessary, you will do whatever needs to be done to get it. The danger in this is that all too often, we make things necessary that don’t line up with our core values and goals. If what you chase doesn’t line up with your true values, you will always feel dissatisfied.
If you are looking to detach from the unnecessary, begin in your home and with your belongings. Detaching from the unnecessary soul wise takes a little more work, but this is a good place to start. Evaluate what you have and consider what you could do without. Before you buy something, consider how much you really need it, how often you will use it, and if it will ultimately be an asset or a liability in your life.
I’m not talking about forcing yourself to live in lack, I’m talking about discovering the fullness in things you already have.
Someone once told me they bought a sweater, only to realize months later that they had the exact same sweater in their closet already but didn’t realize it because it had been so long since they sorted through their clothes. Use the sweater as a metaphor for all the things in your life that you may be seeking without realizing that they are already in your possession.
Here are 6 ways I declutter and detach from the unnecessary in my home:
- Clean out your bag – One time I found $50 in a bag I hadn’t used (or cleaned) in a long time. Whether you carry a purse, a backpack, a clutch, a wallet, a whatever, just clean it out. Throw away receipts you don’t need, organize your cards/money, and remove anything that doesn’t belong in there.
- Clean out your pantry – Throw away old food, expired medicines/spices, and organize. This actually makes grocery shopping so much easier too because you are aware of what you already have.
- Clean out your closet – Ask your self: When is the last time I wore this? Do I honestly see myself wearing this in the next year? Would I buy this again today? Is this faded or stained? How do I feel when I wear this? If you can’t remember when you last wore it or you don’t see yourself wearing it anytime soon, it’s time to let it go. If it’s faded or stained, the chances of you wearing it are very low…let it go. If the way you feel when you wear an article of clothing isn’t in accordance with the way you want to feel as a whole, let it go. It’s 2018, we don’t have time for outfits that don’t make us feel our best. Remove what you don’t need and donate it or re-purpose it.
- Clean out your cabinets – Organize. Again, take in to account what you already have and what you might need. That way, you can be sure to buy the right things the next time you’re at the store instead of getting more of what you already have. Throw away old makeup. If you weren’t aware, most cosmetics have a little jar like symbol on the bottom or back of it that tells you the recommended shelf life for that product. Get rid of random things you’ve collected through the years. I actually reserve a small cabinet in my bathroom as the “I don’t know what to do with this” cabinet. Anything I don’t really know what to do with at the moment but I can’t find it in me to throw away goes here. Periodically I realize that I’ve never gone looking for the things in that cabinet and I just get rid of all of it, or I find something cool in there and put it to use.
- Clean out your electronics – Delete old emails, old contacts, and old pictures that you will never care to look at again. We all have that one picture that we took 27 times but really only liked one of them…so delete the other 26 and free up some space. Also, this might not be for everyone, but I recommend unfollowing people on social media who don’t inspire you. The things that appear on our feeds have an effect on us whether we realize it or not, so make sure you’re only allowing positivity, inspiration, and greatness onto your feed and into your mind. Do you really need to keep up with people’s lives who you don’t even care about? Free up your energy for better things.
- Clean out your car – Take out all of the jackets, papers, and whatever other random junk you’ve been saying you’ll take out later. Make “later” right now and see how nice it feels to get into a clean car.
Praying that the next time you sort through any clutter you may have results in the discovery of things that are unnecessary, so that you may move forward feeling lighter, more free, and more open to the things that are of true value in your life.