Here’s a tasty irony: “Essentialism” is a philosophy that asks us to consider what is essential as we make decisions about creating our living spaces. Creating simplicity and only using what is essential to achieve our goals allows us to shape a life we truly love and helps us to make incredible strides and contributions to our community in the process.
But did you know that distinctive thought habits can be seen as early as infancy? People have biases when categorizing and labeling everything they come across. Some small children line up all of their toys in order of color, some by a superpower, and some toss them all in a pile and none of that matters. Strategies, or cognitive shortcuts, are used to simplify decision-making. such as grouping items and persons. One such heuristic is essentialism. Jen Heard describes essentialism as a streamlined pursuit of what is truly important to you, lessening the physical and mental clutter needed to accomplish your goals.
There exist individual variances within any population. Some people love to collect things. Many experts have speculated throughout the years that the desire to buy and accumulate things we don’t need or want stems from a natural and adaptive impulse gone awry: the need to accumulate food, furs, and other previously critical objects for survival but are now just luxuries. We gather things that require us to spend much time arranging and rearranging, and eventually, we are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it all. Then we worry because the stuff we accumulated has so many strings attached. The items we accumulate are not serving us; instead, they are taking from us, whether that’s time, space, or attention.
Jen Heard, a top professional organizer, decluttering coach, and author, writes about mindfully determining what is essential in her upcoming book. Clutter gets in your way, both physically and mentally. Jen Heard advises that if you want to reach your full potential in work, home, and relationships, consider decluttering to get clarity. If your physical environment is causing stress because it is quickly filling up with items you never use, consider clearing the space as a way to gain freedom and time back in more ways than one.
Think of this: In your home’s current state, could you quickly depart for work or get the kids in the car for an early drop-off at school if necessary? How fast could you find your keys or get to the coffee maker? Is this tangled mess your vision for your home? If everything in your home has a string attached to you, can you understand why cutting some of those threads could make your life simpler and more accessible?
Consider that you might be a victim of a marketing firm’s manipulation aimed to control the purchasing process and influence individuals to such an extent that they are duped into buying goods they don’t need or even desire. Jen Heard understands this from personal experience; after college, she worked for an ad agency, specifically on messaging research and development for global car lines, and later on for cruise lines, hotel technology, medical instruments, and consumer goods. Knowing what she knows about messaging the American consumer, Jen says, “It’s no surprise that most individuals end up with too many items lying around their houses, the majority of which they don’t need.”
It could be essential for humans to collect and keep things for whatever reason, but this is just conditioning, outdated, and not serving the human race anymore. It blocks our sight from our higher purpose – faith and service.
Declutter your life and your space. Love people more and bigger than yourself by making creative decisions as you let go of your stuff. You could donate your extra to a local community organization helping people in need using Jen’s newly developed and soon-to-launch Love Bigger (™) app. More information is available at www.lovebigger.com. Maybe those served by the charity have had similar situations to those you have also overcome. Giving to people in your community who are struggling with familiar trouble can give you tremendous peace and offer an opportunity to make a difference and have your mess become your message to your community. One of love and care. You can be sure to be happier, and you will have a much deeper connection with your neighbors and your community.