Day 11: What I learned from watching Graham Hill’s “Less stuff, more happiness” Ted talk

Continuing on with my theme of  watching Ted talks based on creating a happy and fulfilled mindset I decided to seek out a Ted talk with some actual steps implemented into the talk – something I could do right away.  My discovery was  a Ted talk from 2011 by by Graham Hill.   In the presentation, “Less stuff, more happiness” Graham shares stories about how he downsized  ‘edited’ his life and is all the more happier for it. less is more

How did Graham Hill edit his life in three steps?

Graham kicks off the talk with revealing the fact that American homes have three  times more space then they did 50 years ago.  However, all that extra space has not meant that people have plenty more  room for their belongings. Rather the opposite, as our space expands so does the amount of stuff  that people accumulate. He challenges us to edit our lives, reduce consumption and belongings so that we can instead increase our freedom, save more money and decrease our footprint in the process. Graham  breaks this down into three steps.

1. Edit ruthlessy

Graham says that you need to edit ruthlessly.  For most people, myself included, this would be the hardest part.  We become so attached to our possessions, our stuff, that yes this is a cliche, but our possessions end up owning us. I have so many clothes in my wardrobe that I have bought on impulse and that I have no intention on wearing if Im really honest with myself, but I still  hang on to them just in case. This is just a waste of space and money. As Graham says we need to think before we buy and ask ourselves if that purchase is going to make us happy.

2. Small is sexy

Graham has adopted out new mantra into his life “small is sexy” and suggested buying things for how they will be used the majority of the time . He uses an example of buying a six-burner stove when the reality is you might actually be hard pressed to use three burners. This was probably my favourite tip from Grahams.   When I am out shopping it can be hard work not to give in to the marketing and heavy sales pitch from staff trying to get me to spend more for more features which usually means buying a bulkier product.   A perfect example is my microwave. I bought the bigger model as because at the time I thought that was the smartest thing to do. I hardly use the darn thing, it takes up so much space and it uses more power than I actually need!

3. Multifunctional furniture and spaces

Graham endorses the use  buying multifunctional furniture and living spaces and he definitely lives and breathes this advice.  Graham lives in  a 420 sq. ft home that he has decked out with multipurpose furniture. His bed pops out of a wall, his office folds away, the coffee table can easily expand to entertain 10 people – it’s quite a remarkable home. For most of us, living in a 420sq ft home all of the time wouldn’t be ideal but we can still find ways to incorporate the concept into our homes and perhaps get a little sense of freedom back.

Today’s actions step

For years I have been trying to get my clutter under control. I have a lot of ‘stuff’ but it’s not really essential belongings.  For today’s action step I am going to schedule into my calendar an  hour each week dedicated to the sole purpose of decluttering my home. I know that an hour once a week doesn’t seem like much, but I know if I schedule this daily it won’t work, so rather than fail at that plan I am going to schedule something more achievable. If I am feeling motivated during the week I may squeeze in a few more sessions.

If you haven’t already watched Graham Hill’s Ted talk you can do so on the video above and you can get a look at Graham’s multipurpose home.  I would love to hear about how you have edited your life and the benefits you have foubd. PLease let me know in the comments below.