You shall dwell in sukkot seven days, every citizen in Israel shall dwell in sukkot, so that your descendants shall know that in sukkot I caused the Children of Israel to dwell when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. (Leviticus 23:42–43)

For eight days we camp out in a sukkah. We eat there, we drink there, and we hang out there.

Here’s the funny part: The comforts of home are left inside the house, while we live life outside in a very basic, über-simple structure.

There are plenty of spiritual reasons as to why we make and dwell in a sukkah. I also think we might be onto something for those of us still living in cluttered homes (with its counterpart of cluttered thinking).

What is in a sukkah, exactly? Table, chairs, shared meals, guests, and great The comforts of home are left inside the houseconversation. There is something very liberating about having a really bare-bones setup. No ornate lamps, no china closet, no piles of unopened mail. It’s the quintessential example of how the best things in life aren’t things.

The sukkah serves as a reminder of how temporal stuff really is. When we dwell outside in the simple, bare-walled sukkah, we look up at the star-filled sky through the sechach above, and have a deeper realization of our dependence on G‑d. What a fabulous wake-up call to reprioritize our lives and make time and space for what really counts.

Outer calm reflects inner tranquility. Stay ahead of the clutter curve with these five simple steps:

1. Stop buying


It is quite amazing how much “stuff” most homes contain. Equally amazing is how surprised people are that they have so much stuff, when they themselves bought it!

It is quite amazing how much “stuff” most homes contain

Instead of going to the mall or Target, go for a walk around the neighborhood park, or take the children bowling. Save the shopping for when you need a specific item.

Which brings me to the next point. Take that “instant buy” off of your Amazon account, and unsubscribe from those 24-hour impulse buy-in-disguise sales. Snap up a needed item and place it in your cart, then wait 24 hours before you buy it. Fear not if the fluffy giraffe posters sell out; they will be back on sale within the month.

If you are receiving packages and have no idea what you bought, you should read this paragraph again.

2. One in, one out

Once you have whittled down the contents of your home (did anyone say “garage sale”?), commit to keeping the status quo by having a one-in-one-out rule. Yes, you can of course have that new vase on sale that you love, but say goodbye to the vase that you haven’t used in three years. Voilà! It’s that simple.

3. Don’t put it down; put it away

If the world is full of good intentions, piles of clutter must have the highest quota of good intent possible. “No, of course I didn’t want that pretty but useless container perched precariously on the sideboard for three months, just the phone was ringing and I put it down just for a second.”

Resist the urge to put items down for a second, because we all know that is the same as saying you will have just one chocolate-covered almond. Stop fooling yourself, and commit to putting things away right away.

4. Don’t take other people’s hand-me-downs (unless you really love them)

Even if we limit our real and virtual shopping-cart antics, we still have to be aware that well-meaning people will try to give us Resist the urge to put items down for a secondtheir clutter. Yes, you may think that you’re helping your neighbor out, but you don’t have to babysit her piano while she gallivants around the world. Same goes for rotten antique chairs and a dresser that your great-aunt gave you that you truly believe is the definition of the word hideous.

5. The best things in life . . .

Ultimately, it boils down to recognizing and internalizing that the best things in life aren’t things.

This Sukkot, bring some of your simplified existence back into your permanent home.