Once again, the people of Denmark have topped the charts as the happiest people on Earth. 23rd happiest are the Americans.
Interestingly, Americans own and consume more than twice as much as the Danes. The average home in the US is 2,330 square feet while in Denmark it's 1,884. The US home, on average, has 350,000 items in it!
The average US home has doubled in size in the last 30 years, at the same time the number of people in an average household has decreased by half. We require more and more space because we are consuming and collecting more and more stuff!
If happiness is what you are looking for, consider scaling down the amount of stuff you own and taking a cue from the Danes. The amount of time and money you spend maintaining and storing your things increases with amount of stuff you accumulate. Wouldn't you rather be spending your time and money doing something that you really love?
Getting and staying organized becomes much easier when you scale down on the things you own. You can live more comfortably using less space if you're organized. Think about the amount of utilities, land and items a 5,000 square foot home consumes as opposed to that of a 1,500 square foot condominium. If you make the choice to live in a smaller space, living comfortably becomes possible if you are organized.
The top two questions I get as a professional organizer are, "How do I begin to figure out what to get rid of?" and "How will I know for sure that I won't need that item again?"
My answer is: Find all the things in your home that are not useful or meaningful and get rid of them. If, at some point, you decide you do in fact need that item, you would easily be able to find another one on Craigslist, Ebay, or one of the online free markets across the US.
For example, if you had an unused bookcase, you could sell it on Craigslist for, let's say, $40. Then, say, one year later you decide that you actually do need a bookcase. You would be able to find a used on within a week or two. Usually you would find one that better suits your needs as well. Also, the $40 you sold the bookcase for a year ago would have been saved or spent on something useful and you would not have had an unused bookcase in storage.
You can let go of everything in your home that is not useful or meaningful if you are willing to trust that the items you need will be available to you when you need them. When you take this step, I am willing to bet that your level of happiness and the amount of money in your bank account will both increase!
Statistics Denmark. 2008. Denmark in Figures 2008. "Average" (taken as typical) Danish home is 110 sq. meters, or 1,184 sq. ft.
Demographia. 2006. Second Annual Demographic International Housing Affordability Survey.
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