07/31/2012 07:52 am ET Updated Sep 30, 2012

Simplify Your Life and Get Rid of Clutter

"I intend to identify something that no longer serves me and give it to someone who will be glad to have it." | Support Beth's Intent

Our world is becoming more and more materialistic by the day. We are swimming in possessions, but are still not satisfied. Our ancestors would probably scoff at the amount of gadgets we carry today, though we genuinely believe that each of those has an important function in our daily life. But if there were ever a fire and we lost everything, what are the things that we would actually miss? When I think of this, the words of Henry David Thoreau come to mind:

"Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail. In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. Simplify, simplify. Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion."

--Excerpt from Walden

Thoreau says that we are getting lost in the details. A simple life is more enjoyable than one full of materials. We would be as happy having 10 things as we would if we had a thousand. Life is complicated enough without the burden of unnecessary objects.

We should measure our success in life by the good deeds we have done and the people whose lives we have touched instead of measuring it by the goods we possess. Make a list of objects that you no longer need: clothes you have not worn or thought about in a year, furniture that is no longer being used, extra linens that are lying around and duplicate pots and pans that are sitting in the cabinet. As the famous proverb says, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Something that holds little value in your life can make a huge impact in someone else's. So simplify your life.

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