You Can Always Get Rid Of More Stuff

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I hope you had a great Labor Day Weekend, full of rest and rechargement (I don’t think that’s really a word, but you know what I mean).

Last week, I declared that I want a more simple life. Based on the way y’all shared it on social media and left comments on the post, it looks like we’re on the same page.

I suspected that might be the case but I’ll be honest, I was still a bit surprised at the level of response. You see, when I looked around, I could SEE people were overwhelmed and craving a simpler life. It showed in the abundance of early-onset forehead wrinkles and permanently tense shoulder and neck muscles. And yet, I still felt like maybe I was all alone, or at best one of a small minority who are ready to shed all of the unnecessary and unproductive complexity in my life.

It’s nice (?) to know I’m not alone after all.

This weekend I continued my quest to simplify by getting rid of some books that were laying around my house. Some I had read, some I had intended to, and one or two were gifts. One was even a personally signed copy written by the most famous person I know on a first-name basis. 24 books total. Gone. Out the door. Adios.

Here’s the kicker: these were books I had kept during my last book purge. Here’s the extra DOUBLE kicker: my last book purge was only 8 weeks ago.

My wife and I decided that this summer we would paint the house and put down some new carpet. So, we started looking at companies like Carpet Now – Austin Carpet Installation to see who could do it and got started. Needless to say, that kind of work forces you to clean up a bit, or at least rearrange all of your stuff temporarily. We took the clean & purge route. We live in a pretty small house (saving for that beach house you know) and we *think* we don’t have much stuff. Until, of course, we have to move it all to put in new carpet.

8 weeks ago — during the great purge of 2014 — I gave away BOXES full of books. I kept only the books I knew I absolutely wanted to keep. These were the ones I’ve read, loved and never want to get rid of. I also kept a small stack of unread books I knew I really would read in the near future. All of the “good intentions” and “I really should read that” books hitched a ride in a cardboard box to charity land.

Or so I thought. Until this weekend. When I finally put all the books back on the bookshelf.

I decide to put the books back very intentionally, one at a time. I forced myself to hold each book in my hand and be completely honest about each and every one. For the volumes I had already read, I asked myself questions like, Do I really love it? Will I ever read it again or refer to it in my writing? Would I recommend it to anyone? For the ones I hadn’t yet cracked open I asked one simple question: Do I still want to read this book?

24 more books didn’t make the cut. I was shocked at how many I had held on to that I truly didn’t need or even want, but just 8 short weeks ago I thought I did. I was also quite surprised at how much energy 24 books contains.

24 books is a box full of physical space. It is also a truckload of reserved mental energy — you know, the “If I don’t read those books I’m a bad, bad person” kind of energy.

Releasing that energy felt good. Well, at least until I looked at the mountain of stuff I still need to purge in the basement, which reminded me that 99% of the time, I can always get rid of more.

Baby steps, right?

I challenge you to drop a reply below and name one thing or area in your home or workplace that needs/deserves/demands a purge. Or something you’ve purged that released a truckload of reserved energy and made you feel awesome.

Every reply inspires me more than you know.

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