Self Help Infos

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Easy ... Free Way to Increase Your Happiness

Posted by patrick

By Heidi DeCoux

Once again, the people of Denmark have topped the charts as the happiest people on Earth. 23rd happiest are the Americans.

Therefore, it is interesting that the Danes own and consume less than half as much stuff as American people do. In Denmark, the average home size is 1,184 square feet while in the United States the average home size is 2,330 square feet. 350,000 is the average amount of items a US home has 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 you want to increase your happiness, consider taking a cue from the Danes by scaling down the amount of stuff you own. The more stuff you own, the more time and money you spend maintaining and storing your things. That's time and money you could be spending doing something you really love, like traveling!

Scaling down makes getting and staying organized much simpler. When you're organized, you can live more comfortably using less space. Consider the amount of utilities, land, and items consumed by a 5,000 ft2 home compared to that of a 1,500 ft2 condominium. If you choose to live in a smaller space, being organized makes it possible to live comfortably.

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?"

Here is my answer: Get rid of everything in your home that is not meaningful or useful. If, down the road, you need that item again, you can easily find a different one on CraigsList, Ebay, or one of the many online free markets across the US.

Let's say you get rid of an unused bookcase by selling it on Craigslist for $40. Let's say that one year later you actually need a bookcase. Within a week or two you will be able to find a used one. Most of time, you will find one that suits your needs better than the old one. In addition you'd have saved or spent $40 over the last year, and you would not have stored an unused bookcase.

Trusting that the items you need will be available to you when you need them will allow you to let go of all the things in your home that are not useful or meaningful. If you are willing to do this, chances are the money in your bank account will increase along with the amount of happiness you feel.

Sources: Statistics Denmark. 2008. Denmark in Figures 2008. Available at "Average" (taken as typical) Danish home is 110 sq. meters, or 1,184 sq. ft. Demographia. 2006. Second Annual Demographic International Housing Affordability Survey. (2200 square feet for new American home in 2006.)

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