The Power of Less

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When my daughter was very young, I read that parents should do their best to focus on creating experiences and memories, as opposed to buying or accumulating things. I believe this philosophy has been quite helpful in all areas of life since then, and I refer to this motto often.

We had become a society where bigger has been considered better, where more is equated as more successful and where things are a symbol of wealth and status. I say ‘had’ as I have been noticing a shift in the thinking of many individuals, couples and families.

I am hearing words such as, ‘Simplifying’, ‘downsizing’, ‘decluttering’ or ‘purging’. I have heard phrases such as, ‘We don’t want to be mortgage poor’, ‘we don’t want to live the rat race anymore’ or ‘we just want to get back to nature for some peace and quiet’.

I think this is a wonderful and very enlightened shift that is taking place around us. Families, who in the past might have been interested in purchasing homes in the wealthiest areas of town might now be reconsidering their decision, as they don’t want the matching tax bill.

Individuals who used to fill their closets with the latest in designer fashions might be shopping at thrift stores or bagging up excess clothing to give to community donation bins. People who have wanted to buy expensive cars, boats and toys might choose, instead, to travel modestly to see different parts of the world.

This signifies that our society may have been overindulged on things, over the previous several decades, and now they are valuing the simple things in life. Many realize that it isn’t the ‘things’ that make them happy. ‘Things’ can even make us sick.

If you have ever watched any of the hoarding shows, although the extreme end of the spectrum, our obsession with gathering items can become toxic. I once assisted a woman declutter her tiny apartment. She had over 40 garbage bags of clothing that were waiting to be laundered.

I once joked at all of my clothes could fit in one large suitcase and that I like it that way. My thought is that this will cap the maximum amount of laundry that I can possibly have, to be washed. I go through my clothing several times a year, get rid of anything that no longer fits or that I don’t love and I shop for sales and value.

On the other hand, my family has threatened to call, ‘What Not to Wear’ as I tend to buy the same thing in various colours, when I find something I am comfortable in. This intention of simplicity is also why I love tiny houses. If I can’t clean it top to bottom in a couple of hours, it is too big!

I remember picking up a hitchhiker once, who was from Paris, and had all of his worldly belongings in his backpack. For a moment I was feeling sorry for him. He then commented that he didn’t have a home or a car but he also didn’t have any debt, had absolute freedom and was the happiest he had ever been in his life.

This hitchhiker was actually feeling sorry for me and all of my bills and responsibilities. This was quite an eye opener for me…

The heart of this story is that I have come to value and appreciate simplicity in my life and I want to spend my money and time on adventures and exploring and enjoying life, over having an abundance of things to clutter my surroundings.

If you are ever looking for a great book to get you started on this philosophy, you can read, ‘Take Time for Your Life’ by Cheryl Richardson. It has been one of the most influential books in my life, as I have come to learn that I am extremely sensitive to chaos, mess, or clutter in my surroundings.

Organizing and decluttering are two of my favourite things to do. I looooove unloading bags at Value Village or donation bins or going to the dump with garbage. It has such a powerful way of cleansing my soul and my mind.

Perhaps organizing or cleaning out a closet may be something that can bring as much joy to you as it does to me! That way you can clear space and energy to go out and live your life to create memories and experiences for your life story. Stuff will only weigh you down. Let’s simplify!!

‘If your house is full of stuff, all the blessings that could fill your house can’t get in. The stuff takes over. It robs you psychologically. You can’t be at peace.’ ~ Peter Walsh

‘If you look at your entire house as one unit of junk, you’ll never do anything because the job is too overwhelming. Take it one drawer at a time.’ ~ Janet Luhrs