Thursday, May 5, 2011

Less Is More

     It seems as we grow we just accumulate more and more things. We come into this world with nothing, but we find a world of things already waiting for us. As we age we amass even more things, and start adding things we've made to what we have. Enter teenage years where, in this day and age, more things mean a better life. As we enter into adulthood, we take a lot of those things we've accumulated with us, and then accumulate more. We go out on our own, forage our own path in life, all the while amassing more stuff. It almost seems like life is spent collecting stuff.

     Then comes the moment, in my life at least, where I look around and feel like I am drowning in things. More possessions than I can use, and most of which I really don't need. How did it come to be like this? Ah yes, the consumerism overload. Everywhere I go, everything I see, I am trying to be convinced to purchase something. I am told that to be a better woman I need 50 make-up products, another 10 anti-aging products, another 10 hair products, and at least 100 articles of clothing not including shoes. To be a better mother I am told I need at least 10 books, 50 DVD's, 100 different toys, an entire wardrobe of cutesy brand name clothing, all the latest equipment and child care gadgets, at least 5 child geared electronics, and a ton of accessories. It's almost as though my child has some how morphed into a Barbie doll and in order for both her and I to feel complete, I must attain all of her many accessories and add on packages. The same goes for being a better student, better athlete, better friend, better daughter, better artist, better writer, etc. For us to be better at whatever we are or do, we are told we need more things.

     I don't want to be controlled by things. I spend my days purging my home of everything I possibly can. I went from a huge desk with a large hutch and enough room to house a good 30 rabbits, down to two TV tables side by side for a desk. And they work great! The smaller space also helps me keep down on junk and clutter on my desk pretty well. I sell whatever I can, donate the rest and be done with it. I've now come to hate stuff. If I don't need it, I want it gone, and as soon as possible. I feel smothered when I have too much stuff. I am currently going room to room, taking everything out and only putting back in what I need. It's liberating. The only problem is I can't seem to sell stuff as quickly as I bought it. I sell online locally and nationally to help get it gone as quickly as possible, but it is not always a quick process. A lot of times I am stuck with a bunch of stuff I have no choice but to donate. I end up with receipts work hundred of dollars for tax right offs next year. While it doesn't bring me immediate cash, it does help knowing I will get something back for all that I spent. What it's really taught me is to SPEND LESS and SPEND MORE CAREFULLY. I take the time to evaluate a purchase before I make it. Do I really need it? Can I live without it? Am I going to be happy having it in my home for the next 10 years? I try to think long term.

     When I do buy something I try to buy second hand or used whenever possible. It's better to give something a new life and reuse than to buy a new product. Less waste. And whenever I purchase something I need, I sell something I don't. If something comes into my home, something else has to go out. This way I don't have an influx of items piling up in my home. It gives me an excuse to get rid of an item or two. It keeps a balance and gives me a little money back. I've been able to use the money from selling items to pay for the occasional dinner out, as well as fun activities. It's been great having the extra spending money while getting rid of clutter. We really don't need all the things we think we do. I try hard to spend as little as possible and sell as much as possible. I think it's important to look at all we have and decide if we actually need all we own. Do we really need 20 knick knacks that collect dust and don't do anything? Do we really need all those movies we didn't really like much? Do we really need a closet full of clothes that never get worn? I wear all the clothes I have now. And I can use the closet space I've emptied for storage. I look at things and ask myself, "Has it been used in the last month? In the last 3 months?" If it hasn't then most likely it is not needed. It's important to use what you have and get rid of what you don't use. It's made my life so much easier getting rid of the clutter and stuff!


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