zen habits: How to Simplify When You Love Your Stuff

Here are some thoughts that might be useful.

1. Look around your house now.

Walk from room to room. Do you see things that you never use and don’t really care about? Why not give them away or sell them? Clear physical and psychic space by removing the “dead wood” in your environment. Someone else might really need these things.

2. Examine why you are hanging on to something.

Is it truly useful or meaningful, or does it feed your ego in some way? Are you holding on to it just to impress others or to make yourself feel better or more important?

3. Look at how you spend your time.

Do you have things you own for hobbies that you never pursue? Do you have a kitchen full of gadgets but you rarely cook? If you truly think you will come back to a hobby or activity, box things up and put them out of sight until you do. Be realistic about how much time you have to use your extraneous stuff.

4. Are you in a career that is thing-focused?

Decorators, car dealers, retailers and others involved in creating, buying, selling and marketing merchandise, can have a hard time detaching from material things because they are always surrounded by the newest and best. There is beauty and art in many things, but consider this: you don’t have to own them all to appreciate them. Eckhart Tolle once suggested to Oprah Winfrey that she not buy everything she likes or wants — just savor it for the moment in the store.

5. Consider experiences rather than things.

On the whole, experiential purchases provide far more pleasure than material purchases. The memory of experiences improves with time, but material purchases are harder to think about abstractly. Experiences also encourage social relationships which provide long-lasting happiness. If you are itching to spend, spend on a great experience with someone you enjoy.

6. When you think about your things or want to purchase something new, consider these parameters:

* It brings beauty into your life and stirs your soul.
* It supports a passion or hobby.
* It helps bring family and friends together in a creative, meaningful way.
* It educates and enlightens.
* It makes life profoundly simpler so that you can pursue more meaningful things.
* It helps someone who is sick or incapacitated.
* It is useful and necessary for day-to-day life.
* It’s part of a meaningful tradition or a reminder of a special event.

7. You will know you are buying mindlessly if you:

* Buy on a whim.
* Buy to impress others.
* Buy because you feel you deserve it.
* Buy when you can’t afford it.
* Buy just to update something that still works or looks fine.
* Buy because someone else has it and you want it too.
* Buy because the advertisement seduced you.
* Buy because you are bored.
* It’s purchased because buying soothes you.

Source: http://liveboldandbloom.com/