Stop hoarding! I escaped clutter and you can too

All of your material items are weighing you down and you must ditch them right now

By Peter R

It did not take me long to realise that I was a voracious hoarder of material things. I was collecting, storing and keeping many items because I felt that I could not do without them.

But this material ‘clutter’ was not only inhibiting my daily routines and activities but also destroying my mind. Mental hoarding is as dangerous as keeping material goods. Whenever I got rid of many of these objects from my house, my garage and my storage unit I soon realised that I did not miss them at all.

Get rid of your stuff

Basically, I did not need these things. I wished to be free of these items so that if my circumstances changed and I needed to move away to a different city or country I would be free to do so. These objects were chaining me to a particular location and I needed to set myself free.

So what steps can we take to help become free from such a predicament? For the body to change, the mind must change first.

It is not healthy to have a house full of unwanted and unneeded items and it is not healthy to store problems and issues up in  the filing cabinet of our minds.

I would suggest starting with 5 steps:

Step 1: Ask the question, do you own your things or do your things own you?

Step 2: Do not get drawn in by a societal pressure to compete

Step 3: Go back to basics – less is more

Step 4: Consider your options – could you conceivably leave the grid?

Step 5: Be radical – don’t be afraid to rip it up and start from scratch.

The obsession with material living stems from the culture we live in today (in Western nations) – this is the problem of ‘want’. Put another way, it is greed over need.

If our friends and neighbours have lots of material possessions then we feel a need to match them or keep in touch with their hoarding of material goods. It may not be a plain case of envy or jealousy, but this can play a part in some situations.

I want to retire early and claim back time

One of my aims is to retire early from work and take advantage of spare time. Time is as important as money. When I told people of my intention of moving to an exotic island and retiring early I was immediately met with perplexion.

Their first reaction was that I would not be able to afford to move away or retire early. The reason for this is because whenever people think about retiring to an alternative location they associate it with expense, fashionable beachside villas with multiple rooms, expensive appliances and a pool.

Herein lies the problem – a problem of scale. Does living this particular lifestyle have to mean such excess and such need for material desire? Obviously I am not suggesting that these type of life-changing decisions are cheap or inexpensive, of course they are not!

But they don’t need to be bank-breaking, sweat-inducing experiences, if you scale down your expectations then such a dream can be more easily reached.

hoarding toilet paper
Many people began stockpiling during the pandemic

Scaling down your possessions

Typhoons, hurricanes and natural disasters can wipe out our material stockpile in seconds. The weather is changing fast and as our rivers dry up in one part of the world, our banks become flooded and overcome with water elsewhere. For too long we (in this instance I am referring to people in the West) have been too complacent when it comes to climate change and global warming.

It has always been a problem that affects somebody else and that happens somewhere else. This mood has also helped to fuel climate scepticism and the rise of climate change denial. Now that extreme weather conditions are beginning to hit the shores of Southern Europe, the United Kingdom and mainland Europe (even landlocked countries) then we are starting to take note.

Now that rainfall is at a premium in parts of Australia and hurricanes and tornadoes are beginning to hit the coasts of the United States of America then we are starting to take note. These issues are no longer just the problems of African nations as has been intimated before.

We can no longer afford to look across at countries like Somalia and Ethiopia with their famines and lack of clean water and fail to empathise. These problems are spreading faster than we can comprehend.

Society has a plan for me. It wants me to conform in a certain way and walk along a prescribed pathway. But I reject these ideas.. Be prepared for any eventuality, of course. But don’t become a slave to your stuff.

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