I have always struggled with being messy. It’s not that I don’t like having a clean room or apartment, but as hard as I tried I couldn’t seem to keep my place tidy. There was always a trail of stuff in my wake. You could almost follow where I was and what I did throughout the day by the messes I left behind. As someone who works from home this became more and more frustrating. It’s so much easier to concentrate and be productive in a space that’s tidy but I couldn’t keep any room neat for the life of me.
Then… something magical happened. A friend recommended the book the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I read this book and did everything the author and tidy-master, Marie said. I started with my clothes, then books, then komono (miscellany). I always had an inkling that my stuff was controlling me instead of vice versa but the book gave me permission to let a lot of it go in a methodical way. I’m very excited to say that miraculously I am now somehow tidy and truly enjoy my space. An unexpected bonus – I also save time and money.
I can’t ignore the link between budgeting and tidying up. It became crystal clear to me as I was reading. Marie recommends discarding or donating any items that don’t bring you joy. This creates more space, a clutter-free environment and you end up only surrounded by things that spark joy. The best part about her theory is that you don’t actually miss anything that you discard. You may have been holding on to some items because you felt guilty or wasteful getting rid of them, thought you might use them someday or even totally forgot you had them. Once you discard them you just feel lighter and free. You don’t miss them because they didn’t bring you joy in the first place.
I believe this is exactly how we should budget. People view budgeting as an act of restriction or deprivation but that just doesn’t work! There are so many things in our life that we spend money on just because we are in the habit of it, our friends do it or we’re not even aware that we are doing it. If we take an honest, item-by-item look and truly assess what spending sparks joy, we can strip out the rest without feeling any sense of deprivation or lack. You won’t even miss it! All the while, you’re creating space in your budget for more things or experiences that truly bring you joy. We can make room for saving, investing and paying down debt while maintaining a truly fabulous lifestyle. How abundant!
I recommend taking a look at each item you spend and asking yourself if it sparks joy. If you do this, you’ll be surprised by how much you can start saving without having to eliminate the things that you love the most.