Throw stuff away. Give stuff away. Un-finish things.

The process of reduction is fascinating. In food science, reduction is about simmering basic ingredients together and slowly eliminating water – until you’re left with a rich, thick, wonderful sauce full of the taste and flavor.

In life, reduction is about making the most out of what you have and eliminating everything that you don’t need.

I am stunned by the sheer amount of Stuff I have. Where does it come from? How does it possibly accumulate?

The other day, I went to go running and I reached into my sock drawer to find a sports top. I have at least 6 different sports tops – but my favorite is a black one. I sifted through shirt after shirt looking for the black one, and yet 6 others were staring me in the face. How can I possibly need that many clothes just for sweating in? Let alone tops for work, casual tops, sleeping t-shirts, and heaven forbid I admit how many racing t-shirts I have (I always check “no” on the box for new race entries – inevitably the t-shirt becomes a rag for washing my car or cleaning the house).

Sometimes, we have so much Stuff cluttering up our lives, we can’t even find the things that matter to us. Our lives are hidden by our Stuff. (Here is a funny video on Stuff).

I think the battle of Stuff is a constant battle. I’m always bringing more into my house than what leaves the house, and that’s not a sustainable or healthy way to live. I’d like to be more judicious about what I let into my life and what I actually stop and say “No thanks” to. I’ll be slowly unloading another giant part of my closet (clothes I never even wear) and donating them to Good Will this weekend.

Have you ever noticed how wonderful cleaning something feels? Cleaning, straightening, organizing, reducing? It’s frustrating when things don’t have places and too much Stuff accumulates.

Clean, reduce, eliminate, give away.

Take the time to go through the things you have and give away the things that don’t matter. It’s okay if you start small and just focus on one thing at a time. Sometimes it takes me an entire weekend just to tackle one set of drawers. It’s hard work, getting rid of Stuff.

But the clean surface is amazing. It’s wonderful to feel the blank slate of an empty, fresh desk and a set of tools that are exactly what you need – no more, no less. Just pens, paper, and a desk. (And my computer, for me).

Clean, reduce, eliminate, give away.


Get rid of Stuff. You already have more than you could possibly need.

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Great resources about eliminating, de-cluttering, and living with less:

Living Well on Less
The Frugal Girl
The Minimalists
Life Excursion
Zen Habits