As I’ve been working with a lot of different clients, one question that comes up during our discussions is “what do your clients have in common?” It’s fascinating because some are rich and some are not so rich. Some have big houses and some have small houses. Some work outside of the home and some work inside the home. Some have children living at home and some have no children, etc. But what they do have in common is just more stuff, which is of course why they call me. What I’ve learned and tried to teach them is that more is just more.
When they start to get rid of the stuff they don’t need, I can see a physical change in them almost immediately: their shoulders relax, their jaws becomes unclenched, and their breath becomes more stable. They feel like an enormous weight has been lifted off their backs and they are at peace. They are no longer burdened with having to make decisions and care for these objects that have been an incessant drain on their psyche.
Having more stuff does not make you happier or more content with your life. Actually, more stuff detracts from your quality of life very quickly. It means you have to spend more time taking care of things that you buy or more time doing projects you’ve committed to that don’t bring you joy. Time is money but time is also the one non-renewaable resource in your life. Think of what you could do with more time today: go on a trip, spend more time playing with your kids, take an extra long walk with the dog, talk with a long lost friend or family member. The stuff you bought will eventually deteriorate and become useless, however, the time you spent building memories will last forever. It is always ok to say “no” to requests for your time. If you don’t take care of yourself and your needs, you can’t take care of or help others.
More stuff is also more money spent. It’s gone. It’s not working for you anymore earning interest in savings or towards a larger goal like repairing your home or a vacation. While the acquisition process may bring some good feelings they are fleeting. And then you’re stuck with stuff you bought. Is it helping you? Do you love it? Is it necessary for you to function? These are all good questions to ask before you pull out your wallet and part with your precious, hard-earned money.
More stuff means more decisions to make. How do I wear this? Use this? Where do I put this? How do I use this? Whose is this? The more decisions you have to make every day, the more your brain is stressed trying to process each of those decisions. This is why people decide to eat the same thing for breakfast or wear the same clothes all the time. Having fewer options actually encourages you to think more creatively because you have to solve a problem (what to wear, eat, do) with fewer tools or crutches. Think of what you can do to minimize the number of decisions you have to make every day and you’ll have more time to devote to the tasks that need your full attention.
William Morris’s quote “Have nothing in your home that you do not find to be useful or beautiful” means so much in our fast paced, competitive world. Having more for the sake of more will not enhance your life in any way. Purchase items thoughtfully and carefully so that your home is a reflection of your best “you” and not some image you think looks best. Get rid of what is not essential, or helping you, or beautiful and you’ll have a home that brings you joy and peace. And who couldn’t use a little more of that?