The bad news: all that work you put into getting rid of things in your home can be for naught. If you don’t halt the invasion of unnecessary items you’ll be back to stuffed closets and cluttered surfaces in no time.
The good news: you can beat this.
There are many ways to combat stuff. Right now I’m looking at the basics: why do we want it and how can we tame the want.
Because, make no mistake, I have a sparse closet but when I see the well dressed women of my ‘hood I notice what they’re wearing. I see the beautiful hand bags and boots and the perfect jeans. And I think about how I would feel in very expensive denim.
So how do you escape the want vortex? How do you resist the call and false promises of new and more?
Step One: don’t let it in the door.
If you’re struggling with getting past the want, don’t invite it round for a cuppa and a scone.
For city dwellers like me, we see 5000 advertising images a day. That’s up from 2000 daily images 30 years ago.
We cut our cable almost a year ago (and don’t miss it!) but we still see some commercials when we stream a television show from a network website. My brother’s children have mostly grown up without television and I notice a huge impact on their wants. One year my niece didn’t know what to ask for for Christmas. I’m interested to see how this plays out as they grow older. Will they want less because they only watch television shows with commercials at grandma’s house?
Here are a few ways to stop the ads and reduce the want:
- Unsubscribe from all retail email newsletters and notices. Guess what? When I don’t get the email for 40% off at the GAP for one day only, I don’t buy stuff I don’t need. It took a few weeks to cull my inbox of retailers but I’m happy to report it worked. I also enjoy getting a lot less email.
- Reduce your television consumption: I love me some good TV shows but remember, it’s an add machine. We would rather pay and just buy what we want commercial free. It’s not just about the cost of the cable bill – what’s it costing you in purchases made because you saw the ad 76 times?
- Read books, not magazines: if you have a ritual of reading InStyle from cover to cover once a month, if it’s a little break just for you, enjoy it. But then recycle the magazine and pick up that book you’ve been meaning to finish for five weeks. I enjoy reading People at the doctor’s office but I let them pay for the subscription. Magazines are half ads and for me, the style and fashion do nothing to inspire me and everything to make me feel that my wardrobe and body are inadequate. Ditto for home decor magazines. When I am in the market for a new couch I will pick Elle Home at the library for inspiration. Until then, they fuel the want for a new kitchen. And that’s wasted energy.
If you’re going to live the rich life with less you need to make some new habits. Like any new habit it will take a while to adopt. Start by developing an awareness of how much advertising you are consuming – tv, magazines, email – and reduce from there.
Challengers? Is anyone living the minimal-ish life but a voracious television watcher or magazine reader? Does anyone believe you can view ads solely for entertainment or enjoyment and not be swayed to buy more?
Photo credit: Campanero Rumbero