Less is More

This year has been a rough one for me. A lot of changes. A lot of growing.

I’ve learned something. Stuff doesn’t make you happy. In fact, at least in my experience, it does the opposite. I honestly believe that when you bring “stuff” into your life, it makes your life heavier. It pins and wears you down.

I’ve recently lost most of my “stuff”. I’ve had to acquire new stuff. And almost without exception, every time I add something new to my collection of possessions, I feel it weighing me down.

It’s interesting. The act of purchasing something is exhilarating. There is a rush of excitement and power. I am in control of my world. I click a button and an item is hand delivered to my house.

But once that item comes into my house, I have to find a place for it. I have to maintain it. I have to move it so I can dust or vacuum. It takes up space. Every time I walk into a room, it’s there. I have to allocate mental capacity to it.

I think the nomads had it right. They had just enough stuff to pack up on a beast of burden and move. Sometimes I wonder if I could fit all my belongings in backpack, I’d be a happier person. I really do.

There are two exceptions to this rule. The first is food. It comes into the house, serves a purpose, and then is gone. The act of creating something with raw ingredients makes me happy. Even more so when I can share that creation with family members or friends.

The second exception is my computer. My computer opens up a new world. It allows me to connect with friends. I’ve never regretted buying my laptop.

To me, this just proves the obvious. It’s not stuff that brings us happiness. It’s people and relationships.

I don’t own much anymore, but I think today I’ll go through the house anyway. I think I’ll get rid of everything I possibly can.

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10 Responses to Less is More

  1. Jenny says:

    I love reading stuff you write, Marion. You’re right, it’s people, not stuff that bless our lives. But sometimes it’s hard to remember–like in the shoe department.

  2. Sara says:

    The culture of minimalism has always intrigued me. Especially the tiny house movement.

    http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/

    Also they are really cute.

  3. Suzanne says:

    My mom has issues with hoarding. It’s something that we joke about and tread lightly around, but it’s a serious issue… one that brings her very real stress and real problems. It’s dang near impossible to be clear-headed with chaos around you on all sides. It sucks joy and calmness of mind.

    I’m glad you’ve found clarity in this… and you’ve inspired me to go do a little purging.

  4. Chris says:

    A very ponderous post.

  5. Jon says:

    I know the feeling, but don’t go too far with the garbage bags…..there are somethings worth holding on to.

  6. Jon says:

    Oh btw I was going to tell you, I just found out that my boss’s dad is the author of dragonlance. Ever read those books as a kid? ;)

  7. Sometimes when I watch a Japanese film, and see their homes that are so plain, empty of clutter, and are so peaceful looking…do you know what I mean? It makes me want to throw all my junk away.

    Don’t put me in your purge pile! :)

  8. Heidi Tighe says:

    I’m curious about how you lost most of your stuff! House fire? Theft?

    I see the appeal of the minimalist movement, too. Honestly, though, I think what I really want is to keep all my stuff but have it be so organized that I can locate and maintain it easily.

  9. Carole says:

    Make sure you get the movie I Am on that laptop of yours. I think I told you about it, but this post reminds me of it.

  10. Dan Wells says:

    For those of us who have backgrounds in the architectural profession, where the “less is more” phrase came to prominence through Mies Van Der Rohe (yes, there needs to be a nod to Robert Browning) there is the counterpoint coined by Robert Venturi of “less is a bore”. During graduate school this was brought to a special light by the professor of mechanical systems (heating, air conditioning, yawn, stuff like that), Lester Boyer. In that case, “Les was a bore” and a number of people had a very hard time staying awake in that class.

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