Materialism is hurting our health and happiness. Instead of feeling enriched by the things we own, we are stifled by them. Having more stuff is no longer better, it’s worse.
We are in the grip of stuffocation. That’s the conclusion of James Wallman, in his book by the same name. The good news: the age of materialism is on the decline, to be superseded by an exciting new age of experientialism.
Experientialism, as espoused by Wallman, involves finding happiness, living a more meaningful life and expressing status through experiences, rather than material possessions.
Stuffocation provides an entertaining exploration and analysis of research from the fields of anthropology, psychology and economic history on the predicament we are in, how we got here and how a focus on experiences over things can make us happier. But it’s not just all stats and facts, woven throughout the book are the stories of everyday people seeking to live less materialistic ways. Heavy meets light in a charming and convincing way.
Stuffocation is not a how-to book – although it does offer seven habits of a highly effective experientialist and recommends three steps towards implementing experientialism in your own life.
Decluttering is not without its drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is that I’ve become desensitised to the volume of waste my lifestyle creates.
Haste to waste
When I first started decluttering 18 months ago, I agonised over the number of trash bags that I filled. Sadly, now it’s just par for the course. I give things away, donate them and recycle. Trash is my last resort, but there is still a lot of trash.
Concerns over the impact of my decluttering decisions had largely slipped from my mind, until I read The Use It Up Challenge and Our Nothing New Year on Our Next Life. Our Next Life confronts the issue of decluttering and waste from both an environmental and personal finance perspective. They argue that in a haste to declutter (this trendy thing that if you aren’t doing you think you probably should be) we are not considering waste.
I am going to declutter 2017 things from my home in 2017 and here’s how I plan to do it.
My decluttering journey began 18 months ago – a kitchen drawer, then the linen cupboard, before diving into my first go at the Minimalism Game. I’ve gone through my whole house at least once, twice for some areas, but I’m not finished yet. I notice the benefits on a daily basis. My mission this year is to tackle my last sticky trouble spots. I figure I still have at least 2017 excess belongings, there’s only one way to find out …
Do you want to give the Minimalism Game a go, but feel daunted? I made this guide for you. It contains what I wish I knew before I played the Minimalism Game for the first time.
If you’re not familiar with the Minimalism Game, it’s a month-long challenge to get rid of your excess stuff. On day 1, out goes one thing; on day 2, out goes two things and on and on until day 30, when out goes 30 things. That’s around 500 things in total if you keep going for the whole month. You can find out more about the game on The Minimalists website.