You have too much useless stuff.
Get rid of it.
Marie Kondo's method can manipulate your emotions to help you throw things out. First, you have to pile all your clothes on the bed. Put all you books on the floor. That sort of thing. How much stuff you have will disgust you. Second, you have to "wake up" your things and "thank" the ones which do not "spark joy" before you "let them go." This is sleight of hand to distract you from what you're doing: You are wasting these things. Marie approves. You have her permission.
Japan has an indigenous concept, 断捨離 (danshari), which has three parts: Don't get things you don't need. Discard things you have but don't use. Don't obsess about things. This is more comprehensive than the Kon-Mari method. The Kon-Mari method is discarding. Discarding has the negative connotation of wastefulness, もったいない (mottainai.) So Marie Kondo is less famous in Japan. People I've talked to here seem skeptical of her method.
Subscriptions. Cancel them. This is my work in progress. The newspaper, some software are still too hard to let go of. But try. You will cancel some. You will get offers to remain a subscriber at half price for others. (Read those cancellation terms.) Patreon—those people you support have moved on to other things. Or you have moved on to other things. That's OK.
Don't Get Any More Stuff
Once you have less stuff, its tempting to get new stuff. Ask yourself these questions first:1
- Can I live without this item?
- Based on my financial situation, can I afford it?
- Will I actually use it?
- Do I have space for it?
- How did I come across it in the first place?
- What is my emotional state in general today?
- How do I feel about buying it? And how long will this feeling last?
Examine your motivations. You don't need, can't afford, won't use, and don't have space for [thing] you stumbled upon while feeling a little bored. The nice feeling you have about buying it won't last.
Kickstarter. Getting off it takes special effort. You click, you buy, you get the little endorphin rush from that. The remorse comes much, much later—if at all. From time to time something does arrive in the post. I forgot all about this! It's a present from someone with excellent taste: Yours. Let's shop some more!
I tried to give it up cold turkey. That didn't work. Things I had already backed kept pulling me to the site. Size? Color? Address? Psst you might like this project. Only now that I'm free of it can see what's going on. Of course Kickstarter could remember my mailing address. They don't. That is the point.
What did work was doing Kickstarter "lite." Project looks interesting? Great, back it for $1. You will get updates but no rewards. This makes the site less sticky. It kills the reward signal. In a month I was clean; I didn't even need to back things for $1 any more.
Keep the box. If you do cave and buy something, keep the box. These fill up your closet space and act as a natural brake on having too much. And when you're ready to "let it go," it's better to sell it in the original box.
Minimalism: Even Less Stuff
To go deeper, you need the minimalists. Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living has a series of short arguments for minimalism. Read it. A few of them will stick and start to nag at you.
Minimalism is a thing I have not acquired, though.
Software engineer. This blog does not represent my employer.