A reader asked me to share about my “processes for determining “enough” for your space – clothing, furniture, etc,” and since I’m in the throes of (thinking about) moving, I figured I’d share what this looks like for me.
My short answer is – you’ll figure out our sweet spot when you start to remove the excess. You’ll probably be surprised by how little you actually use and need compared to how much you have.
When is Enough Stuff Enough?
It depends on several factors that will be unique for each individual and family, including:
– How much space you have. If you have a 5-person family in 800 square feet, you’ll reach your enough point before a single person in a 2,000 square foot home. Simply because you have less place to put that stuff.
– Your clutter tolerance level. Some people have blinders to clutter and it doesn’t bother them, other people get hives when a pile has been sitting on the dining room table for a week. (You can also lower your clutter tolerance level by continually combatting it. How do I know? Personal experience!)
– Whether you get “decision fatigue” or not. What does this mean? For example, if having 30 pairs of shoes overwhelms you, you’ll need less.
Less will Become More.
What’s “enough” today will be “too much” next year because I’m continually reevaluating how much I’d like to have around and enjoying the margin of space around my home.
The cycle goes something like this:
- Have an itch to declutter. And by itch, I mean: “Ahhh, this floor keeps getting full of junk! Must get rid of some!”
- Declutter. Asking those questions I use to figure out if I need it or not – tossing into the trash or donate box as I go.
- Enjoy the extra space and don’t miss what’s gone. The results are so rewarding and instant.
- Have renewed itch to get rid of even more! I’ve created a monster.
Now, I’m not saying I live in a sparsely furnished, minimalist home. Though I do consider myself a minimalist, I have not arrived at the minimalism equivalent of Inbox Zero. It’s my obsession, but I’m a
hobbyist, not a professional.
When we were discussing our move (and a list of items we needed to make decisions about keeping or selling), my husband expressed a fear that we’d get rid of too much and end up living in an empty space.
I assured him this fear was absolutely not going to be a problem. For as fervent of a declutterer I am, we still have plenty of things. We could get rid of half our belongings and still truly feel like we had “enough.” It’s like the Pareto principle – we use 20% of what we own 80% of the time. How do I know? I’ve seen this when traveling and I bring only 8 outfits with me – much less clothing than in my already modest wardrobe and, yet, absolutely enough.
The more I see how good living with less feels, the more I’m motivated and inspired to continue removing the excess from our home.
As it was a reader who asked this question – please chime in if you have advice and feedback for her, as well! How do you know when you have enough?