Simplify Life - Possessions

America is abundant of everything, and people are tied up to the concept of accumulating more possessions.  Several years ago we moved from a 3 bedroom house to a 5 bedroom house. At first there were plenty of space, and now the basement is full of stuff and some are unopen discounted boxes from sales a year ago.  Also one of the bedroom became a storage of more stuff mostly clothes.  I don’t know about you, but most people own about 10,000 items in their house and office.

Well, it is a new year, and simplifying life is one of my goal this year.  I got this book entitled “How to Simplify Your Life” from the German authors, Tiki Kustenmacher, a free-lance cartoonist and a Lutheran minister, and Dr. Lothar J. Seiwert, a professional coach. They claimed that the search for simplicity is a journey that begins with your external possessions and ends with your innermost self. In between external possessions and innermost self are finance, time management, health, relationships, partner, and you.

Your Possessions

Cut down your personal baggage by organizing your home, office and car. Clear away the clutter and large stacks of paper, and extraneous items because it reflects mental disorder and affects your well-being. How? Follow these tips:

Streamline your home possessions

Find an area on the floor outside your closet.
Divide it into three sections with plastic bag or box: 1) throw away, 2) pass on / donate, 3) keep.

Go through its items of dress, shirt, pants, bags, and shoes and sort into the above sections.
When you hold item smaller than your size, don’t dream of fitting in it, accept it is difficult to slim down --- we will tackle health in the next article. For now let go of that clothes.   

I bet there will be more items in the pass on section that you can donate or give to friends and family.  It’s a great feeling to give away, and the recipients will appreciate your generosity.

Clean up will take time, and so do it in small stage by dividing tasks into manageable portions. I prefer to do the easiest task first like the area where mails and newspapers were accumulated.  When you that area clears up, there is a sense of accomplishment with the small win.

Tackle a small space. You can go to the kitchen and shelves or drawers that you can clear in a few hours. Remove clutter on dining table, kitchen countertops and the top of the refrigerator.

Keep doorways clutter-free. A clear entrance will make your home inviting. Don’t hang junk on doorknobs.

Examine your hobbies and collections. Save real and meaningful collections, but discard objects that you randomly kept. 

Finally, trim the overload of books and mementos that attach you to the past and hasten your development. Retain a memento from each special person and give away the rest.

Celebrate each task and area that you complete.

Office Clean-up

Use the “four-quadrant” office tool by dividing an empty table or area on the floor into four sections: 1) throw away, 2) pass on, 3) important and 4) act now.

Sort into those sections until there are no papers left on your desk.

Use visual clues. Get a box or suspension files, calendar reminders and aides to create a system for handling office chores and paper work.

Discard old information. Put an expiration date on files. Throw them at appropriate time. Shred documents with confidential information like bank statements, retirement accounts, and financial reports.


Create the following core folders in your email:  Action Items, 1 Year Retention, 3 Year Archive, and 7 Year Archive.  Move emails that actionable in the Action Items, and if you are using Outlook tag the email with follow-up date. 1 Year Retention and 3 Year Archive folders for short term and long term references.  7 Year Archive folder is email with legal impact such as evidence for litigation. Review core folders and delete email when necessary. Any emails outside the core folders should be deleted.

Six golden rules

Simplification is a continuing process until it becomes a routine. You will need to maintain it with the following rules:

  1. Put away every item you have taken out.
  2. Close everything you have opened.
  3. Pick up items that have fallen.
  4. If you take it down, hang it back up.
  5. Immediately write down your future purchase plans.
  6. If something breaks, fix it within a week.

A path of simplification should be easy once it’s built on small steps.

Stagnation leads to clutter, dissatisfaction and disorder. Remove clutter to increase your focus and live healthy.  Before you know it, your innermost self is glowing and happy.

How to Simplify Your Life
Seven Practical Steps to Letting Go of Your Burdens and Living a Happier Life
by Tiki Kustenmacher and Lothar J. Seiwert

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