Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Less Is More? Not In My World

For me, the end of the summer (calendar wise only), is a bit of a whirlwind. While many folks are relaxing in their lawn chairs and sipping those margaritas, I'm getting my self organized for the next challenges life will bring. In two weeks I'll begin going to school full time. Add to that a planned road trip, a couple overnights and normal September and October doings (fairs, festivals, church events and the like) and I am entering my "busy season". Until the holidays, my life is a whirlwind (or as much of a whirlwind as lazy me can handle)

Knowing that life will be busy very soon, I've been trying to bring some order into my life. I've done some basic cleaning (the carpets still need work), I've cleaned straightened and organized each room, and made lists of what I need. I've had a little sit down and planned gifts for my $500 Christmas, making sure that I have what I need. Knitting in front of the TV can be mindless, as long as I have what I need to do the knitting. I've organized my desk for my online class, and even made a space for those few times I'll bring art projects home to work in them (I really do need a separate studio area from my sewing room!).

What have I not done? With the exception of throwing out clothes that are now to large, I've done no purging. None. 

Why?  Put simply, I've realized that minimalism is not for me.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate those good folks that can live with 30 things in their closets. I admire those folks who purge and purge, and although I would not live in some of the homes I see, I appreciate the beauty. This is not to say that I don't appreciate simplicity, because I do. I just don't believe that simplicity and minimalism are the same-any more than frugality and minimalism are the same (in fact they often end up being the opposite).  I'll go even further and say that sometimes I become extremely irritated by all the articles that assure us if we got rid of more things, our lives would be easier, happier, or whatever-er. To borrow from an online friend, There is no inherent virtue in not owning or owning things as long as it doesn't lead to a dysfunction in living your life

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a fan of hoarding. That would be the other extreme. Some of us need, want, and use our stuff. As long as I have the place to store it and it has value (either through use, value or memory), I'm never sure what the problem is. Obviously, many of us will be downsizing in retirement,. As part of that downsizing we will part with some of our possessions, and that's probably a good thing.  Getting rid of stuff just to get rid of stuff, though?  I don't know, maybe I was better about buying the stuff originally. There is little in my house that I don't want or don't use-at some time.

As the wife of a guy who served overseas, I spent almost  three full months (more than once) in a rental house with none of my own stuff except what we carried in suitcases. I am not ashamed to tell you how much I missed my things. No books, no puzzles, no cooking utensils or cookie cutters. No quilts..........the list could go on.

Aside from my comfort level, I'm a frugal girl on a fixed income. This means that when I throw things out (or give them away), I need to consider the replacement value. Life is much "simpler"  by keeping things on hand. Keeping things mean that whatever I want to do, whatever I want to make, I almost always have what I need. Did I make Christmas scrapbooks with my stamps and paper last year? No.  This year, however, I've already made cards and gift tags to give and sell. When I need a group of canning jars for framboise liqueur flavored fudge sauce-I have it. I have cookie cutters for every season, Christmas dishes and Easter dishes.  All of which get used.

My living room is in no way sleek or empty. There are quilts on the couch, books on the table and in baskets, candles and decor and probably a plate of cookies on the table.My pantry has a small slow cooker that gets used regularly, and a large one that gets used a few times a year. When I need the big one though, I really, really NEED it. And so on......

That's the life that works for me. How about you. What's your comfort level when it comes to possessions?


  1. I'm not a fan of clutter so I tend to get rid of things. However, I also love This quote and try to live by it.
    "Have nothing in your house That you do not know to be useful or believe to be Beautiful." -William Morris

    It's helped me evaluate what I have. If you love and/or utilize your stuff then you should definitely keep it! It sounds like you know what works for you.

  2. Ahh, you know me Barb. I usually have well organized piles of books to read, projects to knit, and other sundry items around the house.

    Add in the fact that the garden is coming in and my house while not exactly cluttered is not exactly neat either.

  3. My home is likewise populated with objects I find soothing to my eye, but it's tidy. I crave tidy!

    Since most of our storage is comfortably full, we try and follow the one-in, one-out rule, particularly with regard to clothes and shoes.

    My guest bedroom and bathroom now have completely empty closets and cupboards, which I'm very proud of I have to say!

  4. I'm at the point that it has to go. I've accumulated way too many things and I'm too crowded. A lot are books and dvds - I've lost interest in some genres and some are readily available from the library - I never should have gotten them to begin with honestly. I like to stock stuff that I use regularly - like an extra pack or 2 of toilet paper and paper towels and a backup for shampoo and the Aveeno body wash and certain pantry and freezer items I use regularly - otherwise I'm trying to pare down. I want to enjoy my space and am getting ready to do some major decluttering and rearranging rooms - one is to make master bedroom a gameroom/workout room and move beds around in the other 2 bedrooms - including putting a kingsize bed in one - it should fit since the townhome was built in the 70s with larger rooms but it will be more crowded that's for sure! I plan on donating some furniture, tossing some, and replacing some once I get stuff how I want it.

  5. I am not a declutterer.
    I have my stuff and I like it or why would I have bought it.
    At this point in my life I really just do not shop anymore. Yes groceries/gas, but I shop out of my closet and yard sales have some great tools on offer. Thanks for this post, I thought I was missing something as I could never figure out this declutter bug.

  6. Barb who posted after me - :-) you're mastered the key to not having to declutter! seriously. I love to shop and accumulate things and attach sentimentality to things I shouldn't...if I didn't bring it in I wouldn't have to get rid of it. I'm struggling with that andhave gotten better but I've been doing this my whole life and been 'on my own' for 22 yrs so I have a lot to undo and during stressful times I've accumulated even more!

  7. I live in small space, so I can only keep what I use. I have been getting rid of things that no longer serve me and I like having some empty space.


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