From Hoarder to Minimalist: Finding Happiness in Between

hoarderI confess.  I hoard things.  Things that don’t make sense to hoard.  Like t-shirts with arm holes ripped or shorts I can’t stand to wear.  My desk several weeks ago was a pathetic mess. Deadlines and summer break was creating a time crunch in my life. Everything that didn’t have a “place” in the house was pretty much getting dumped on my desk. I wasn’t keeping up with the piles of mail. I just couldn’t throw away ANY catalogues and so I had two and a half topsy-turvy piles on the brink of dumping over onto the floor.
This pretty much symbolized my emotional state at the time. There’s a stack of unopened mail, a box of thank-you notes to be written for a birthday party from 2 months back, a wedding picture to be framed, receipts to be filed, a gift to be wrapped, a stack of books to be read, a dress to be repaired, a mother’s day gift to be mailed (picture taken in July) and stacks of cool little gadgets that I got on sale from the web.

No wonder I was feeling such anxiety. To sit and work with this mess looming behind me was like a ball and chain strapped to my back. My office really was a reflection of the inner turmoil I was feeling as I chased after “things” and hung on to (or hoarded) possessions instead of pursing the things in life of lasting value.

I hoarded catalogues. When I finally went through the stack, there were catalogues from last Christmas! Now why was I hanging on to them?

Another addiction that you don’t even see pictured here was my daily trek through the “daily deals” websites. I was spending my valuable time perusing through groupons and living social deals, plus the other dozen or so sites that promoted cheap little gadgets. Okay…some I have really used…like the adapters to convert vcr tapes to digital format. But I haven’t used the dvd disk cleaner or electrical pulse neck massager. I do wear the jewelry….
And what did all the little possessions do for me? It kept me longing for the next possession that might bring me happiness or joy. And they all piled up around me, threatening to suffocate the life out of me.

Then I was blessed with a book called Living With Less: An Unexpected Key to Happiness.

<IMG_0879Here’s what my desk looks like today:

Still needs some improvement, but what a difference! I still have a long ways to go, but I’ve made such huge strides. Now this book didn’t teach me how to organize my office, or how to clean.

After I finished reading the book, I threw away every catalogue. I unsubscribed from most of the online daily deal sites. The interesting thing about this transformation is that the author Josh Becker did not dictate that I should stop shopping. He doesn’t promote strict minimalism, where we need to get rid of everything and live with the bare essentials.

What Josh does encourage is the intentional promotion of the things we value most and the removal of anything that distracts us from it, which involves the unnecessary physical possessions from our lives that are preventing us from fulfilling our greatest purpose.

My closet was the same. I was holding on to t-shirts that were stained and hole-filled. Now why was I hanging on to some of these things?

I feel so much freer, like I’ve just lost 100 pounds! Where I’ve reduced the clutter, I’ve found it’s easier to find things. It’s much easier to clean. My time is not spent looking for that missing thing.

Living With LessThis book is a quick read, but packed full of life changing counsel. It’s geared to the high school/college age group, but is a must read for any adult seeking a more fulfilling life. Even though my parents who lived through the depression, stressed all these concepts to me my entire life, I wasn’t able to grasp the model and carry it on into my lifestyle. I wish I had read this book when I was in college.

I’m excited to go through my house to find things to give away so that I can stop hoarding treasures on earth and pursue something greater.

Before I was wasting so much time and energy plotting, planning, and longing for a bigger house, a better car, the latest style clothing, or the latest technology and thus becoming jealous when others had more… Not a pretty picture.

Today I’m pursuing “greater” rather than “more.” You can too… Don’t miss Joshua Becker’s Living With Less: An Unexpected Key to Happiness.