10 Reasons to be Intentional about our Belongings
For some people, the beginning of a new year means a fresh start, and where better to start than with our belongings. Most of us are aware that a cluttered environment can lead to a cluttered mind, however over the past couple of years, during the process of taking intentionality about my belongings to the next level, I've dived deep into exploring its multiple benefits and have been so delighted with the results.
Being intentional about our belongings means choosing the things that we want to have in our possession, in our space, in our homes, in our cars, and in our handbags. I'm sure everyone can relate to the feeling of things seeming to magically appear and accumulate. This is not bad. It shows how fortunate we are to have so much abundance. It can, however, feel like our belongings are overwhelming us and weighing us down. Decluttering, minimalising and being intentional about our belongings are ongoing processes, and they often begin with a big clear out.
Marie Kondo wrote one of the best books on the subject, called The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying up. I have left the link to the free audiobook version below. She shows us how to systematically pare down our belongings, room by room. It takes time, but it can be liberating and fun. It can feel like a weight is lifted. Tidying up doesn't sound lifechanging, but I have found that it definitely can be. It's one of the best things I've ever done, and here's why:
1. As Marie Kondo says, the things that we choose to keep in our lives should either be useful to us or they should spark joy. The more things in our lives that spark joy, the more joy we will have in our lives. So simple. So great!
2. We can develop an abundance mindset. Keeping things in our lives 'just in case' we might need them plays into a scarcity mindset. We are reinforcing the belief that we should hold onto things just in case we can't afford to replace them later. If we want to attract abundance we have to live life as if we are already abundant. A scarcity mindset will only attract more scarcity.
3. Removing belongings creates space for wonderful new things to come into our lives. With so much available to us, it is natural that we would want to have shiny new things. I'm very sensitive to beauty, so you won't find ugly, dirty or broken things among my belongings. You will find a lot of pink, because it gives me so much pleasure to look at pink things.
4. We can reduce the 'shoulds' that come creeping into our thoughts. We have no idea how much emotional energy is expended when our belongings are continually triggering shoulds in our mind. "I really should learn to play that guitar that I bought" or "I should use that juicer / skipping rope / sewing machine / treadmill". What if there were no shoulds? Guess what, there aren't. We might consider removing those should-triggering objects from our homes, as they can be exhausting.
5. When there are less things, there is more time available. There is less to clean, less to tidy and less to sort out. There is no need to keep 'going through' things. This opens up so much more time for everything else that we want to do. Perhaps we are not 'running out' of time, we are just not using it efficiently.
6. Releasing attachment to the past allows us to grow. We keep a lot of objects from the past, thinking that they're sentimental. It is, however, fascinating to watch as these things incrementally lose sentimental value as time passes. Sometimes we don't remember the significance that the object had, or we have lost touch with the person who gave it to us, or we have simply moved on to bigger and better things. Some photos or objects can make us sad or remind us of things that we don't want to remember. I digitalized most of the sentimental documents that I chose to keep. That way they are accessible if I want to seek them out, but they are not in my immediate space. The person who wrote those diaries / poems / songs etc. is a very different person now. Revisiting those old pains and fears is emotionally draining and no longer serves me.
7. Spending less is an added benefit. The more intentional we are with our belongings, the less likely we are to bring unwanted items into our space. Releasing belongings is not always easy. We think of the money we spent, the value that those things might still have, the attachment we might have to them, and the usefulness that they might one day have for us. We also know that creating waste is not good for the environment. Having done the big clear out, we will buy less, accept less and waste less, I'm sure of that. I now carefully consider the things that I allow into my life, knowing that removing unwanted items can cause stress.
8. We have the chance to give to others. I don't recommend offloading belongings to friends and family unless an item is something that would spark joy for them. Really, if they don't need it, we're just enabling them to maintain a scarcity mindset or to live in an unintentional environment that won't enhance their wellbeing. We can, however, donate our belongings to people who might benefit from them, who might really need them, or who might really love them.
9. The added space, time, energy and money that we now have available to us can be used more intentionally. We can consider buying from small businesses, shopping ethically, and buying environmentally sustainable products. We can learn to shop for quality rather than quantity. As a result, not only will our more conscious choices provide benefit for others, they will spark joy in us. Higher quality items might appeal to our senses in a stronger way, and we might feel greater peace knowing that we have made thoughtful choices as consumers.
10. The best benefit of all is that we will begin to apply intentionality to all other areas of life. Intentionality with our belongings will have an overflow effect. We will begin to be more intentional about the environments that we expose ourselves to, the people that we surround ourselves with, the experiences that we choose to have, and the way that we use our time. Our ability to set healthy boundaries will increase, and our tendency to prioritise joy will magnify.
This subject may seem small, but it is so big that I can only touch the surface of it here. I would highly recommend accessing The life-changing magic of tidying up, Full audiobook, which you can find at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkjtwRlflXU
My book, In pursuit of energy: Lessons learned on a journey to health, and beyond chronicles my journey with intentionality, and can be purchased in e-book form from https://www.amazon.com.au/Pursuit-Energy-Lessons-learned-journey-ebook/dp/B07NDSCC5N/ref=sr_1_13?dchild=1&keywords=penny+muller&qid=1609753904&sr=8-13
It is also available to read for free with Kindle Unlimited.