5 TED Talks That Will Inspire You to Live With Less

The U.S. self-storage industry is booming. Estimated to be $36 billion in 2016, the figure is projected to rise to a whopping $37.5 billion in 2017. That’s just nuts. Americans are living as large as ever, but space is still at a premium. Or is it?

Perhaps the problem isn’t so much the lack of space, but the fact that we own too much stuff. The solution seems obvious, right? We should just get rid of it. In theory, maybe, but we all know it’s not that simple. Getting rid of clutter is hard.

That may be true, but it’s a task worth tackling regardless of how daunting it seems. The benefits of decluttering are many. For one thing, decluttering will make you happier and more productive. It will also help you de-stress and it will ensure your kids aren’t left with the job when you’re gone.

The above mentioned blog posts should be reason enough to get you busy, but if you’re still on the fence about letting go of all your stuff, these TED talks will definitely inspire you to consider living with less. Because it turns out, the less you own, the more you have.

Getting Rid of 1000 Things by Liz Wright

Liz says her ‘aha’ moment came after reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The book caused her to look more closely at her own life, specifically the small day to day decisions, such as the things you bring into your house.

She looked around her home and saw that she’d clearly inherited her parents’ post-war ‘save everything’ mentality. But being an 80s child, Liz also had a consumerist mindset. Not a good combination.

She set herself a goal to get rid of 1000 things. The end result was a lighter, brighter and more airy home and some wonderful learnings along the way. One big epiphany for Liz was the realization that there’s no point holding onto something for its perceived worth. Instead, she recommends looking at stuff in terms of its function and use.

The Masterpiece of a Simple Life by Maura Malloy

As a fellow writer and neat freak, I completely get Maura’s inability to focus, work or relax when she’s surrounded by clutter. Like her, I too need clear countertops, an empty sink, clothes put away and most importantly, an uncluttered desk, before I’m able to turn my attention to work.

Maura says she wasn’t always like that. As a little girl she collected everything from dolls to pencils to teddy bears. It took a trip to India at the age of 19 to open her eyes to the joys of less, although not enough to deter her from shipping home a box full of touristy stuff to prove she’d been on an adventure.

It was only when she moved to New York that she finally began decluttering in earnest. Mara uncovered her masterpiece life by eliminating the superfluous in her life. What would your masterpiece life look like? Why not follow Mara’s example and chip away at all that’s unnecessary until you’re living it.

From Clutter to Clarity by Kerry Thomas

Kerry reminds us that clutter isn’t just the physical stuff in our houses (though that’s a really great place to get the declutter ball rolling). It can also be digital, mental, emotional or spiritual, and each type of clutter can be equally overwhelming.

Drawing on the wise words of Barbara Hemphill, who said that clutter is postponed decisions, Kerry encourages us to more closely examine the things we’re holding onto and make a decision about them.

She reminds us that even in the midst of overwhelm, we have the power to effect change simply by making a decision. The quality of one’s life is determined by the decisions we make and it’s only through making them that we’re able to move from overwhelm toward peace.

The Joy of Less by Kim Coupounas

The seduction of more led Kim down a dark path that left her emotionally, spiritually and physically so worn out and out of balance that she spent the next eight years having five miscarriages, three failed in vitro fertilisation rounds and spending a fortune on western and eastern medical treatments.

It was only when she slowed down and cleared out the clutter from her life that her world righted itself and she was able to fall pregnant. Kim reminds us that less doesn’t mean lack, it means less stress, less anxiety, less anger, less worry. It also means more happiness, joy, abundance and connection.

Dream Big, Live Small by Dee Williams

What would you want to hold in your arms as you die? What favorite room in your house could accommodate that last breath? Imagine how our consumer patterns would change and how small our houses would shrink if we asked those questions more often.

A terminal health diagnosis led Dee to downsize her life dramatically. She sold her home, got rid of most of her belongings and built a tiny house on wheels. Parked in a friend’s backyard, her new abode redefined her understanding of what really mattered. Not surprisingly, stuff didn’t feature.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Martina Rimbaldo
Martina Rimbaldo6 months ago


Maria R
Maria P7 months ago

thank you

Leo C
Leo C7 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

aj E
aj E7 months ago


Amanda M
Amanda McConnell7 months ago

thanks for sharing

Amanda M
Amanda McConnell7 months ago

thanks for sharing

Mike R
Mike R7 months ago


Janis K
Janis K7 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Marigold A
Past Member 7 months ago