top of page

How to own less stuff

Wed, 16 Sep 2020 21:45:53 +0000

How to own less stuff

I’ve talked about how to get rid of things you already own, but what about stopping things from coming into your life?

I think the reason why I keep on decluttering is because I keep on going to clothes swaps.

They are so tempting. Everything is free!

I do believe clothes swap are a fun, efficient and sustainable way to get rid of old things and acquire new things, however - because everything is free - it’s also easy to pick up items that had never before made it to your wishlist just because they are there.

I am certainly guilty of that. It took my entire willpower to not pick up these at the last clothes swap I went to (they even fit):

2020-06-21 20.27.39 2336294751120634094_1442968204.jpg2020-06-21 20.27.39 2336294751120634094_1442968204.jpg

(Excuse the poor quality of this picture, I had just dropped my phone into my water bottle.)

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop going to clothes swaps (my inexistent willpower should not be a reason to not support causes I believe in).

However I have developed a strategy.

When it comes to buying things or more generally introducing things into my life, these are some questions I like to ask myself to prevent acquiring items I might realise later I actually didn’t need or want.

  1. Can I borrow it?
    Think about all the items you own that you’ve used once and never looked at ever again.
    That fancy dress you bought to attend a wedding. A whole set of spanners when you only needed one. Umeboshi paste that was called for in that one recipe you made five years ago.
    Whatever it is you need, most likely someone you know has it. Have you asked your friends and neighbours? Remember: you don’t need a drill, you need a hole in the wall (quote).

  2. Do I already have something that can do the same job?
    Garlic crusher, avocado slicer, lemon squeezer. That thing that separates the yolk from the egg white. You know what one thing can perform all these functions? Your hands.

  3. How often would I use it?
    Again, if you can’t see yourself using that item regularly, see if you can rent it or borrow it from someone else. Once you’re done with it, you can return it instead of finding a place in your home for it.

  4. Is this just a fancier version of something I already own?
    I’m thinking pens. As a stationary aficionado, I have collected millions of pens throughout my existence, to the point that I haven’t bought one single writing device for four years and I still have plenty of supplies to keep me going. 

  5. What can I let go of if I let this item into my life?Usually I don’t apply the one in, one out rule religiously, but if something new comes into my life I do think about what I could declutter to make up for it. If I can’t come up with anything, that will make me reconsider introducing a new item into my life.

  6. How many hours would I have to work to pay for it?Being the penny pincher that I am, this is my personal favourite. Thinking about how willing I am to put so many hours of work just to pay for an item really puts a purchase into a different perspective (especially if you don’t earn a lot of money hehe).

These questions have been really helpful for me to declutter things but also to not immediately replace them with other things. 

What about you? Do you have any tips and tricks to keep the amount of items you own under control? I’d love to hear what you think!

bottom of page