There’s a strong chance that as a self-employed professional, you work at home either part or most of the time, and during the pandemic — with its lockdown and need for physical distancing — working at home has become more significant than ever.

Which, good news / bad news, means you’ve had plenty of time to be with at all your stuff.

You’ve likely looked around and seen things you appreciate, as well as things you’d like to change. You may have wondered where all the stuff came from. Maybe you’re ready for something bigger, or different, realizing the things around you no longer feel satisfying, or reflect want you want or need.

Once these stirrings begin, they’re hard to ignore. Having a closet full of clothes you don’t wear starts to feel like a burden, reminding you of what else you’re holding on to that you don’t need. The piles of papers on your desk remind you of all the things you said yes to, some of which you don’t really want to do, leaving you wondering why you said yes to begin with. The fact that you hate that vase becomes a fixation point for what else you’re tolerating in your life.

Over time this accumulation of stuff can weigh you down. Until now, you may not have realized the effect this stuff was having, and yet the stillness and uncertainty of the pandemic have made it obvious. It’s like letting the genie out of the bottle; once it’s out, it’s not going back in.

What does all your stuff have to do with your business?

Good question. Imagine you’re trying to get some things done, birth new ideas, take care of clients. Now imagine you’re trying to do these things with a foggy brain, the kind where you can’t hold a thought for more than a few minutes. And now imagine that you also feel like you’re in quicksand, slowly sinking, and it seems like you should be able to get out, yet you just can’t get any traction. That’s what having too much stuff in your physical surroundings that you don’t like, or which doesn’t support you, is like. The lingering effect is felt in lack of motivation, loss of productivity, and a stifling of creativity.

What can you do about all your stuff?

Below are a few ways you can begin exploring your relationship with your stuff, and its usefulness in your life. Whether you end up keeping everything, or paring down to a bare minimum, this exploration is guaranteed to have a positive effect.

Minimalism (the movie)
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are known as the Minimalists, and this movie leads you through their journey of discovering what’s important to them, and arranging their lives and stuff to reflect their true selves. It’s an inspiring story that reminds us to stay on the path that’s right for us individually. You can find out more about the movie, and how to watch it, here.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
The KonMari Method became a household phrase when Marie Kondo released her book in 2014. In it, she encourages you to go through every item in your home and ask yourself if it sparks joy in you; if it does, it can stay, if not, it goes. Silly as this may sound, the feeling that your stuff “sparks joy” makes a huge difference in how you approach your life and work!

The Frugalwoods
As a slightly extreme example of what might happen when you take the idea of examining your stuff seriously, check out the Frugalwoods blog, and read the real-life adventure of one woman who found herself questioning almost everything about what she needed to live and work. Her quest led her to some decisions that surprised her, and following her inspiration may surprise you, too.

As you contemplate your stuff, remember that it’s not the amount of stuff that matters — it’s whether or not it contributes positively to your life. Do you love it? Does it support you in living a life that’s truly yours? Does it help you carry out your work? The more in alignment your stuff is with who you are, what you need, and what’s important to you, the more you’re able to do the good work you’re here to do, and that’s good for business.

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Your Turn

Share your thoughts about your stuff!

Have you tried the KonMari method? If so, how’d it go?

Have you found yourself on the consumer merry-go-round? What helped you get off?

What’s your relationship to the stuff you have now, and is it helping, or hindering, your business?

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A Final Thought About Your Stuff

No blog post about stuff would be complete without hearing from the man himself, comedian George Carlin. Enjoy!

George Carlin talks about stuff.

A word of warning: this video contains language you may not want to play around sensitive ears.

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