When you win a number of lottery prizes, you can buy a lot of stuff.
And for years I did just that. As a result our 5 bedroom, two-lounge house was filled with the best clutter money could buy!
If a new electronic product came out, I bought it. The old one got stored somewhere. I’ve got 3 video projectors in boxes somewhere in our three level house.
Every product came with a few extra cords. I now have boxes of cords. Two bedrooms are piled with outdated equipment. My entertainment centre contains a PC I haven’t seen for 5 years, and never used since.
Then one day a couple of weeks ago, I was looking at a home featured in Architectural Digest. That’s it in the pictures above and below.
I was blown away.
The Beverly Hills contemporary house was outstandingly gorgeous. With its large white living areas and stylish layout, this was the home I ultimately wanted.
And as I looked at the dozen photos which showed it in detail, one thing struck me.
It was clutter free.
Of course, I know many showpiece homes don't look like this in real life. Before the magazine photographer arrives they are primped and polished. Whole sections of furniture are removed or added until it looks the ultimate in glamorous living.
But somehow this modernistic marvel didn’t look like one of those places. Everything seemed well placed, well styled... the look was complete.
And the home become my goal. Not to own - but to use as a guide to living well.
Just looking at the photos I knew that the owner of this place, a health food entrepreneur, didn’t have a mountain of boxes under his house that he hadn’t opened for 9 years.
Nor did he have cupboards full of old gear that had never seen the light of day since his last shift. And he most certainly didn’t have computers and tv’s trailing a spaghetti tangle of cords behind his cabinets.
But I did. And I didn’t want to live that way any longer. My home looked clean and sleek to guests and visitors, but behind every door and cupboard the storage was fast running out.
So 2 weeks ago I resolved to reduce my mountain of clutter, to become as minimalist as possible while still living a great lifestyle.
It is an interesting journey which still continues.
Today my handyman carted away the second enormous trailer load of our unused possessions. Our house is now 90% clear in the basement.
And earlier in the morning I had received a signed declaration from a mobile shredding service. It stated that the 240 liter bin I had spent the weekend stuffing full of bank statements, old invoices, recipes, paper records, old checkbooks - and goodness knows what else - was satisfactorily shredded to a Level 3 security standard.
Over the 2 weeks I had systematically gone through kitchen cupboards, storage areas and drawers, ruthlessly tossing out anything we hadn’t used for years.
As I woke this morning to the sound of the rubbish truck on the street outside, I heard the satisfying crash of old crockery I had put out earlier being dumped in the bin.
Our old stuff all went one way or another... donated or dumped.
As I relaxed tonight in my easy chair, do you know the best thing to come out of this? The feeling of unburdening, lightness and relief that at last my life was getting under control.
When you win a large lottery prize, the temptation is to buy more. You have the resources to get anything you want. But think first - do you really need it?
I’m the first person to acknowledge that material goods will make you happy. They do - I get a tremendous kick from everything I’ve bought.
But too much overwhelms you, keeps you prisoner of the polish and dusting cloths, requires constant maintenance. So make sure you only buy what you can treasure.
That’s the true usefulness of lottery money!
Ken, I was a non believer until i looked through all your material, it took weeks you have written a lot! Anyway, I think i have found out how it works so I bought some tickets last week and it got me $37,000!!!! Thats not much according to some of youre winners, but to me its a years work and very welcome too.
Thanks a million!