Woman standing in front of rack of clothes holding up shirt on hanger

“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”  Oprah Winfrey

Abundance gets kicked around a lot as a buzzword in self-help and personal development spaces:








I want to address the idea of abundance on a much simpler, more practical level. If you are reading this right now on your computer, tablet, or cell phone that you’ve already paid for, you’re probably doing ok.

Which isn’t to say that you don’t have challenges.

It’s more to point out that you are enjoying a degree of privilege and comfort that many people in the world don’t enjoy.

Which isn’t about feeling guilty, just feeling humble and grateful.

Are there clothes in your closet you haven’t touched in awhile?

Paperwork piling up in your home or work office you don’t need anymore but that continues to haunt you?

Books, records, or DVDs staring at you from their shelves that you haven’t read, listened to, or watched in years?

If you have too much stuff, your life is abundant.

Knowing this, you may continue to stack mail on top of the existing piles of paper, shove new books in with the old, and purchase a DVD of your favorite movie because you tell yourself the story that the price was just too good to NOT buy it.

You may feel a pang of guilt when doing any of the above yet continue to repeat these actions without stopping yourself to ask why and simply push the feeling aside.

Living in developed countries, there are things that we purchase that serve or address a specific and practical need.

I can also guarantee you that there is stuff in your home right now that you do not need — but for some reason you needed to have.

Coming to terms with this abundance of physical objects that surrounds you is the first step in setting yourself free FROM clutter and stuff.

Remember the last time you took a trip and had only a suitcase or backpack and were completely engaged in your experience and didn’t feel like you were lacking anything?

That’s the feeling we’re trying to bring forward.

That’s the feeling of having enough.

You and the stories you tell yourself about the stuff that surrounds you is what’s keeping you stuck and at the same time encouraging you to focus on what is MISSING rather than on the many things that are PRESENT.

Here’s an exercise you can do when no one is looking that is guaranteed to shift how you relate to stuff and allow you to start releasing things immediately.

Turn to anything you wish you were done with, regardless of story.

Say out loud, “Thank you for being present in my life. You served me once and you no longer serve me now. I release you.”

This simple act of expressing gratitude AND acknowledging that you are finished with the object will loosen whatever grip that story and object previously held over you.

Repeat as needed and what you’ll find is that your gratitude and happiness will increase and your clutter will decrease.

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About The Author

Andrew Mellen's picture

Andrew Mellen is an organizational expert, public speaker, and the #1 best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!

Andrew has helped tens of thousands of people worldwide to declutter and simplify their lives while regaining time for the things that matter.

A sought-after authority on organizing and productivity, Andrew's addressed audiences from The Great British Business Show to TEDx. 

Corporate clients include American Express, Genentech, NetApp, Time, Inc., and the US Depts. of Education and Homeland Security.

The media has dubbed Andrew “The Most Organized Man in America.” He writes a featured column called “Ask The Organizer” in Real Simple. In addition, he has written for and/or appeared in: The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, America Now, The Lisa Oz Show, The Nate Berkus Show, Oprah & Friends, Martha Stewart Living Today, ABC, NBC, CBS, CW11, HGTV, DIY Network, LiveWell Network, KnowMoreTV, Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, Family Circle, USA Today, GQ, InStyle, All You, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Healthy UK, American Way, numerous trade and travel publications, and NPR.

He leads workshops and speaks internationally while maintaining a private practice working with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies, trade associations, and non-profits to CEOs, award-winning filmmakers, and authors, as well as overwhelmed parents everywhere. 

In 2013, Andrew founded Unstuff U®, the world's first completely virtual personal organization training center, offering classes, workshops, and other online resources for businesses and individuals. 

Andrew is a member of the Experts Collective and serves on the faculty of the New York Open Center in New York City. He speaks frequently on the intersection of spirituality and organization at places including Omega Institute, San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara, All Saints Church, JCC Manhattan, and the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, among others.

Previously, Andrew was an award-winning playwright, actor, producer, and director and the former Artistic Director of Alice B. Theater (Seattle), DC Arts Center (Washington, DC), and Shuttle Theater Company (New York). He is a contributing author to Yes Is the Answer: (And Other Prog-Rock Tales).

Andrew lives by his motto: More Love, Less Stuff!® 

Find him on the web at andrewmellen.com.

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