I'm finding that living the life of a minimalist is not as easy as I thought it would be. I am having no problem getting rid of stuff, which is where I thought I would struggle... it's the not bringing more IN.
It doesn't matter how many times you purge, organize, shuffle things from container to container. If you are not being a good "gate keeper" (as Francine Jay puts it in The Joy of Less) then there is NO POINT to all of your efforts.
For example. A few days ago, I found a stack of junk mail lurking in my kitchen, and I gleefully pitched it all in the trashcan. Weee! Get outta my apartment, crusty junk! This filled up the trashcan, so I did my duty and dragged the stinky plastic monstrosity out to the dumpster. On the way inside, I stopped by the mailbox, grabbed the mail, and absentmindedly set it down on the counter before strolling off to do other things.
Now... wait a minute. What was the point of that?? I didn't accomplish anything, not really. Yes, I kept it from getting worse, but I didn't improve the quality. It's the same as it was before I "purged" the junk mail. I was still letting junk take up residence in my home.
Granted, this is a very superficial example, but it's the easiest to explain. I've been really struggling with telling myself "no" with impulse buys. It's strange, because I thought that I was a very frugal and reasonable shopper. The sad thing, is that I sort of am... in comparison to many of the people around me. Yet I'm often coming home with doohickys and deedads, flyers, free samples, and bits of this n' that, not to mention TRASH.
I'm thinking of putting a little note in my wallet, something to remind me to think twice before swiping that card. For that matter I should post a little plaque on my front door: JUNK NOT WELCOME.
p.s. Receive a lot of "pre-approved" credit card offers? You should go visit www.optoutprescreen.com! It's offered for free through the credit bureaus. It can not only help keep junk out of your box, but help you to prevent yourself (OR OTHERS!) from opening up credit cards and dinging your credit and home with unnecessary purchases.