Accumulating can be “accomplished” in multiple ways. It’s not just about things that we purchase. It’s trickier than that.
Here are a few ways that accumulating can sneak up on us and wreck havoc with our simplicity and minimalism efforts:
1. Through daily mail. More stuff to do. Maybe it’s a bill. Maybe an unsolicited advertisement. Maybe it’s an update on a policy. Either way, it means added-on time and energy in the form of dealing with the bill, contacting a company to be removed from their contact list, filing the updated policy and possibly removing the prior policy from a folder (after having actually found the folder.)
2. Through family. This is a big one in my family. “Do you want this?” is a very familiar phrase around here. Here’s a common one: “Take this,” as a bag of stuff is dropped in front of my door and the culprit disappears, continuing along their merry way. We women in the family seem to always be getting rid of stuff and trying to dump it off on each other. The other day I received two bags of foods from stuff that I had, little by little, brought to my mom’s house. Two bags full of non-organic stuff that she didn’t want. Now that my focus is organic, it totally threw me for a loop. The foods got processed, but not without duress, distraction and time consumption. Nevertheless, the clean-up-from-my-past needed to be taken care of.
3. Through credit cards (debt). Using credit cards without paying them off monthly is a double-whammy. Not only does it load us down with actual debt, but easily burdens us with interest that probably could have been avoided had we lived within our means. (I am not preaching here by any means.)
4. Through re-financing a home (debt) to pay off a car we couldn’t afford or that plastic surgery, suffocating credit cards, a doctor’s bill or major repairs.
5. Through email. How many stored emails do you presently have to contend with? How many come in daily? Are they handled deftly as they arrive? Do you have a system for processing them? Do they get handled? Read? Stored in a virtual folder, never to be seen again?
6. Through social media. The temptation to add that contact to Facebook or to Twitter; to Follow that blog; to Subscribe to that You Tube channel; to tack on another dot com.
7. Through the library. Reserving items online and checking out books, DVD’s and audio CD’s through the library at a rate greater than we actually have time or energy for.
8. Through grocery shopping, especially when there is no plan or strategy. Purchasing what tickles our fancy without solid forethought.
9. Through things left around, like dirty clothes and dirty dishes that wind up creating big projects and dreaded chores.
10. Through adding on new projects without addressing or completing the old ones.
11. Through impossible to-do lists.
12. Lastly, through purchases of things we simply must have in order to feel complete, attractive and in control.
Sure, there are other areas — more ways we unwittingly accumulate — but these are the ones that presently come to mind. By being aware of the multiple ways that our lives can be complicated, I think that we can more easily take charge of evoking change and ultimately feeling confident and empowered.