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Jan 06

Redefining More

The person who dies with the most toys wins. Bumper sticker wisdom like this says a lot about how we relate to our things. It’s not just about having lots of things we like. It’s about having lots of things just to have them, and having more things than everyone else.

In a consumer-driven society, it’s hard not to get caught up in the acquisition game. As a marketing professional, I’m really familiar with marketing and selling tactics. And I admit I’m not immune to the constant advertisements and commercials in our media and walking among us. There are literally endless amounts of new products. And with online shopping and services like Amazon Prime, instant gratification and fulfillment has become the norm. It’s just a click away.

More can be fun. Especially at the point of sale, when you receive that shiny new thing. It’s the honeymoon phase. But over time, more can become oppressive. When you find yourself surrounded by unused, impulse purchases, or can’t find something in an overstuffed closet or drawer, more can be a drag. For me, having to constantly organize or store random things was taking up way too much time. Time that I could have been spending on something else.

When I released many of my dated and unwanted things, a new kind of more surfaced in my life. One of the first things that emerged was more space. I can’t explain the joy I felt when I could easily walk inside my walk-in closet! But it was more than just physical space. Feeling less penned by in by my things also gave me the mind space I needed to think more clearly. About everything.

I realized there were so many other things I could do without to make room for more life. This clarity inspired me to continue with the decluttering process. And I started applying the concept to nonessential activities, too, which gave me more time to pursue other interests. I felt a greater sense of freedom in general, and more open to life’s possibilities. It was okay to free myself from a blouse I bought in 1998, along with other less tangible choices from my past. And to be wide open to new ideas and experiences, too. We all have this freedom.

The clothes that made the “keep” pile helped me redefine my current look, and frame how I see myself today. And having a pared down wardrobe relieved me of the pressure that can come with too many choices. This streamlined my morning process, and, you guessed it, helped me reclaim precious time in a.m. I’ve become vigilant about not repeating old patterns, and think carefully about what I purchase now. For me, having less makes me want less, the same way consumerism causes us to want more.

I also became clear that my clutter was making me feel overwhelmed and stressed. The seemingly harmless items I acquired never escaped my line of sight. They were all things that I had to deal with or maintain in some way. Which made them feel like like a physical to-do list. When I modified and decluttered my living spaces, I created a more relaxing environment in my own home. Which proved much more valuable to me than having more things. jt