It’s a funny world that we live in. More is never enough, we accumulate more stuff than we have space for, we live in constant clutter and nothing seems to stop our constant need to desire and consume.
This clutter-filled life that we live doesn’t only crowd the physical space we live in, but it also crowds our minds and clouds our judgement. In this consumption-based world, we strive for more, we pursue happiness through material objects and this prevents us from ever feeling satisfied with life or grateful for what we have. It’s always about what we don’t have.
This is a cultural problem that seems to have affected all. And it’s not because we are greedy by nature, rather I believe it’s because we seem to have lost our sense of priority somewhere along the way. We can see this clutter in every aspect of life, especially in the smaller and less thought of parts of our daily lives.
My mom always buys way too much food at the supermarket. I always over-pack when I travel. One of my friends has a hat collection of epic proportion. Another is addicted to high-tech gadgets, always the latest, always the best.
So how can we clear the clutter that surrounds us, simplify our lives and straiten out our priorities?
In my experience, the key to simple living is to follow the rule of the basket. The rule, like the goal we are trying to achieve, is simple. Whenever you plan on buying something, packing or collecting more stuff in whatever way you see fit – stop, close your eyes and imagine yourself holding a basket. It could be a picnic basket filled with food, your laundry basket filled with clothes or just a random basket to hold your belongings, whatever they are. Now, take a sec and imagine exactly what you put in that basket. Obviously, a basket has a clearly limited amount of space, so you naturally will put only the most important things in that basket.
Once you are able to fully imagine what goes in the basket, you will realize what truly matters. You probably won’t end up over-packing, over-shopping or over-decorating your tiny studio apartment. In order to organize your life and relieve the burden of clutter, you must strive for simplicity. This will lead to a greater appreciation of what you already have and a lessened desire to continue to consume.
They say that less is more. They also say that you can’t buy happiness. They got it right.
So, what’s in your basket?