Here’s What Happened
Can decluttering your space help you reach financial independence faster? Let’s explore.
My girlfriend and I recently moved into an apartment together for the first time ever.
The apartment is 300 square feet, a small modest studio apartment outside of New York City.
Most of our stuff fits into the small apartment.
But the issue was that we both work 10am till 10pm, 7 days a week.
We were usually so tired at the end of day work day that we didn’t want to tidy the apartment, and in the morning we were normally in a rush to leave.
A lot of things started piling up on the desk, the floor, in the closet, you get the idea.
Dishes would go undone, etc.,
We could feel the anxiety from seeing the clutter piling up.
I think this spilled into our worklives and personal lives as we argued more and were more short and curt with each other.
We were losing valuable precious productivity time by arguing and going around in circles.
I think we feel this negativity probably because clutter represents failure (my own opinion).
Seeing clutter reminds us that we are failing at being organized, at being proper and clean, at being good.
This most likely stems from growing up in society where being disorganized is a sign of failure, of sloth, of not being successful at managing oneself and one’s time and resources.
No one on a conscious level really wants to be labeled a failure.
The primitive part of our brain just doesn’t want to fail.
Failing means falling out of favor with our tribe.
It means not finding suitable mates, not being able to reproduce and make offspring to ensure the survivability of our genes.
Does everyone think like this?
Most likely not.
But I think that’s a part of what goes on deep down in the primitive part of our brain when the modern equivalent of failure shows up in the form of a cluttered desk or apartment.
I think this negativity associated with failure comes out in negative ways like anxiety or arguing with everyone.
Here’s What We Did About It
One day, we had enough of the arguing.
After working 12 hours that day, we came home and Jasmine, my girlfriend, just set a timer for 30 minutes and said “Let’s organize what we can in that time.”
We were decluttering through 50% of the mess on the desk and on the floor and discarded almost everything.
It turned out most of the clutter was old papers and notes that were time-specific and should have been tossed out months ago.
We organized whatever remained from that initial 50%.
For the first time in months, I was able to see my desk and the floor again and it was beautiful.
While we were both mentally exhausted by the time we were done, we did it.
We plan on doing the other 50% soon.
Here’s How Life Improved After We Did It
I am happy to say that after we discarded the stuff that didn’t bring us joy (The Konmari Method), and discarding that which no longer served a purpose, the air in the room got lighter.
Even though it was nightime, it was like the apartment lightened up.
In the morning, the apartment seemed to glower brighter than it had in a while.
Keep in mind, we still have 50% to go, but even discarding the first 50% helped alot.
My girlfriend and I argue less now, which frees up our time to do other things.
For example, write this blog post.
I smile more, can think clearer, and we feel less anxious when we’re in our apartment.
Here’s How You Can Do It Too
The KonMari Method
The KonMari Method is about keeping that which brings you joy.
Marie Kondo, the founder of the Konmari Method, talks about organizing by category, by gathering everything in your house that belongs to that one category and touching it.
Whatever sparks joy or strong emotion in your heart, in your soul, you keep that one.
Whatever doesn’t, you thank it for its time, and you discard it.
Please don’t feel bad or feel attached to what you’re discarding.
Marie Kondo mentions how perhaps the purpose of the item was to be purchased so you could feel a specific emotion at the time of purchasing.
So months later and you still haven’t used the item, that means the purpose of the item was for you to feel that one specific emotion, not for you to actually use it.
Once you realize that, you can discard it without feeling bad.
In fact, she mentions in her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, that you can even think of it as the object wants to feel useful
That if you don’t use the object, you’re denying it of its inherent need, its inherent wanting, to be useful.
That you’re doing a disservice to the object by keeping it around and not using it.
Organizing in this way can help you create a living space that absolutely positively sparks joy in your heart everytime you step into the space.
It can help you create a space that you want to space time in, that you feel creative and positive good energy and good vibes.
Don’t Be Dismayed
Decluttering is a lot like losing weight.
It can be hard at first to get the ball rolling, but once the weight is off, maintaining that weight is easier.
So getting the room tidy the first time takes a lot of mental and physical energy.
It can take days, weeks, months, even years.
But once it’s KonMari’d, maintaining the space is much easier because you’ve built up the KonMari tidying muscles.
And if you work 80 hours a week and don’t have that much time, you can do what we did: set 15-30 minute small increments with your partner to go through one specific category of stuff and do it little by little every day until it’s all done.
How Does This Help Your Personal Finance Journey?
If you have less stuff, you can spend less on living space to fit all that stuff.
Less stuff means less money spent on upkeep and maintenance.
Less stuff means less mental time spent on focusing on the stuff.
That’s freed up mental time for you to do productive things, like side-hustles.
If time is money, then less time wasted with minor inconsequential clutter in your life is time freed up to make money.
The more money you make, the more you can invest it to reach financial independence faster.
That’s how this all applies to help you reach financial independence faster.
never miss out on personal finance insights
- Marie Kondo’s book: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
- Marie Kondo’s website on the KonMari Method
- My blog post on how the KonMari method helped me discard 1500 books