photo credit: Morgan Thompson Retro via photopin (license)

While I was shopping in a thrift store in my area, I found a book called Simplify your Life by a German author Werner Tiki Küstenmacher. He gave useful tips on how to simplify different areas of our lives and he started with the idea of decluttering and letting go of things.

I started to look for information on the topic and I found the blogs of wonderful people like Leo Babauta, who mentioned The Flylady and the idea of shining your sink. I read posts by Joshua Becker, Mike Burns, Courtney Carver and this one by Donna Smallin Kuper. The more I read, the more I agreed with them and started simplifying, decluttering and focusing on what was most important for me and my family.

I realized that the topic of simple living was not so common in Italy, so I decided to create my own blog in which I shared my experiences on simplifying. I often translated posts published by the above-mentioned American authors.

After two years, I had a wonderful house, still full of rooms and space but only with the things I love, use and like. It is much easier for me to concentrate and to focus on a task at a time. I am more productive and apart from being the mother of two teenagers, wife to a wonderful husband, active at church and a teacher of foreign languages, I also find the time to write posts on my blog, read books on personal development, organizing and simplicity.

Since the space around me is so clear with no clutter, I do not spend much time cleaning and doing housework. I find myself often reflecting on how this journey towards simplicity has immensely impacted my life for good.

I am a member of different groups on decluttering on Facebook and in one of these, a member shared her fear that decluttering was a way of wasting money and resources. She was afraid to let go of things because she had spent money on them and felt that throwing them away was wasteful.

I have been reflecting on this and I have come to realize that we are children of a generation who has always stressed the importance of keeping things “just in case.” Our parents and grandparents had experienced war and poverty so they felt this need to hold on to possessions.

But today we have a different situation. It is very easy for us to acquire things, clothes are much less expensive than they used to be, even technology is very affordable. So there is no need to keep things “just in case.”

The point is that we are wasting money if we keep things without using them, especially if they could be really useful for someone else. Realizing that our stuff can still be used by someone else should help us get rid of things more easily.

We had an old television which was working perfectly but was very heavy to move and was sitting unused in a room in the basement. We wanted to carry it to the recycling center in our area but we felt it was really a waste of money.

We put an ad on a website to sell it for $8 and we immediately received the reply of a family who came and got it. It would have been a waste if we had simply thrown the TV away, but in this way, we were able to find a new home for it.

I really encourage you today to find a place where your clothes, your children’s toys, kitchen tools can still be used: a family in need, neighbors or friends, or a local donation center. You will enjoy the freedom that comes with having fewer things to care for. And you will discover that letting go of things will be a joy for you and for the people around you.

Elena Ferro is author of the blog Semplicità in Azione. She is a 44-year-old Italian teacher of German and English, wife and mother of two teens. She lives near Verona – the city of love – and recently discovered that a simple and decluttered life makes her really happy and serene. This post is an example of the posts she shares on her blog.