Less is More

• 11 April 2012

Or so they say...but is it really true?

Rachel mentioned her thoughts awhile back; Rebecca shared hers around the same time as well (there is something about this time of year, yes?!); and now it feels like the right time to chime in as well, given all of the desperately-needed closet cleansing I've been doing (and still need to do!).   As I've tossed many things into donation bags over the last month or so, I cannot help but ponder this whole idea of less being more.  Is it true?  Is it true all the time?  Is it true sometimes?

I started contemplating why I am drawn to water and the nearby beach.  What is it that makes the experience so tranquil?  I concluded that it was the lack of material possessions mixed with the presence of a few stunning objects--beautiful, simple tokens from nature.  Being in a place completely lacking of any "thing" creates clarity and immediate relaxation, because there are simply fewer distractions.  This type of environment allows our minds to hone in on just a couple of things, instead of being visually and mentally spread thin.  Once I nailed down exactly why I felt this way, the wheels started turning in my head and I started thinking about my fairly recent decision to attempt to be as cautious as possible about the stuff I bring into my life.

I've observed over time that an attachment to material objects can become unhealthy.  Sometimes the need to be surrounded by "stuff" is indicative of discomfort in other areas of our life.  It is so easy to ignore the true issues at hand if we continually pad our lives with things.  Have you ever felt that in purging a closet or garage or drawer that you also experience clarity regarding other areas--likely unrelated to organizing--in your life?  It's a crazy effect, but it really does happen.

"Less is more" doesn't just have to do with purging--being more careful about consumption is a forward step as well.  Lately, I am trying to be very mindful of my purchases.  I find that if I think long and hard about buying something I come to one of two conclusions--either that it is a purchase worth making or that I can do without (usually it's the latter).  The ironic thing is that saying "pass" on something feels good too.

Now some of you may read this and say, 'Gah! But I have kids and that is a game changer', to which I'd reply `yes, it is!'.  Children = stuff.  This I know!  But moderation in all things, even kids' gear/stuff, is a good mantra to consult when sifting and sorting.  When our renovation in France took an unexpected amount of time, we found ourselves living for months without a supply of toys.  We had a couple (literally 2 or 3) on hand that the kids purchased at vide greniers, but that was all.  I was surprised at how well they entertained themselves with other things and it was a great lesson for my husband and I to learn--kids can survive without being entertained by parents and toys.  And not only do they survive, but they thrive!

Yet, when I go downstairs and peek at my kids' current rooms (which are usually messy), I confess I have a hard time donating certain things.  Also, I remind myself what a messy child and teenager I was (I used to wade through pools of clothes--no joke) and that this is all just a stage.  For me, the `less is more' gig is more for myself and the areas I manage.  I'll probably let my kids figure it out on their own (with a little prodding perhaps :)).  This is when it comes in handy to just shut the door :)

I realize this is a sensitive subject for some and I admit I do feel quite vulnerable penning all these thoughts and sharing them with you all...but there is no turning back now I suppose :)  What are your ideas on the matter?

image 1 - moi / image 2 - Nikole Herriott of Herriott Grace (gorgeous wares!)


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