9.9.13

Minimalist Monday: Say Yes to Less

When I look back at my overspending past and relive the feelings of those times I know I'm in a happier place these days. 

The adrenalin rush of a new purchase, the acclaim received from sharing my new wares with friends, the pride as I gloated in my good taste and trend spotting skills were all short lived. It must have been, because each new purchase was never enough; my wardrobe was never complete, my house never quite finished and I never did outwit those trend setters. The guilt of overspending and the inevitable chaos of managing those multiplying possessions continually overwhelmed me.

Mending my spendthrift ways was hard - dealing with the physical clutter was emotionally draining and adjusting to a lower income was a challenge. 

A smaller house, fewer belongings and less commitments can feel restrictive. There are times I wish I had a bigger house, more kitchen gadgets or a certain item of clothing but I've learnt to manage and have used creativity and flexibility to make less work. I've developed discipline and non-attachment to material gains and my happiness now comes from simple pleasures that cost little or nothing. I still buy new things and enjoy treating myself occasionally but my spending is now mindful rather than careless. And I'm no longer in a rush to have it all.

If you believe in less you can make less work. Your life will not be perfect but it would not have been anyway. Your home and wardrobe will never be complete even if you chase perfection. 

Nearly three years later after reading about the cult of less and beginning my journey of decuttering and downsizing I feel my life is richer despite being simpler. 

Deciding that I had enough and a curiosity to see if less could make me happier was the start. 

I'm not done yet but I'm glad I said yes to less.

13 comments :

  1. Keep on posting it is so inspiring!!

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  2. I can completely relate to what you are saying in this post. Particularly the part about even after purchasing something you can still have the feeling that it is not enough and still have a list of wants as long as your arm which even if bought, like you say, will not make life perfect because it never is. Even if it did make you feel good, there would probably always be someone who would make you feel like you weren't quite where it's at whether they intended to or not and lets face it, sometimes people can be very good at doing that to themselves sometimes (me included).

    Although I do still like to shop, I can't do it in the carefree way that I used to, filling my trolley in TK Maxx soon after pay day and not worrying about it or buying things on my credit cards and not caring how long it might take me to pay for them. Like you, I still have a way to go to be where I want to be in terms of possessions and spending habits, but I am slowly getting to a healthier more balanced approach to these things. I really enjoy your posts on this subject as they really help me to keep trying to live a bit more simply and appreciate the here and now.

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  3. Love "my overspending past"... oh yes. Look forward and yes to less!!!

    Have you read John Lanchester's novel "Capital"? Could be an eye-opener for some...

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  4. A great post, I am so glad you are happier now. I find that longing for a certain item will pass, and then I am glad I didn't buy it. It turns out I didn't really need it after all.

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  5. An inspiring and encouraging post, you seem to have managed your journey to less in a relatively easy and well balanced way and it is really inspiring to read about.

    I love the lightness of less and it never feels restrictive, in fact having to think about how something can double up and do twice as much for me is a challenge I relish. Of course I slip sometimes and buy something I should have thought twice about, but the good thing now is I can recognise this and I can let things go even if I have spent on them. I simply recoup some of the cost by selling the item or donate it to charity, either way I get my 'lightness' back.

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  6. Very inspiring and thanks for sharing. I still have a very long way before I can claim being really able to say yes to less but I think I am getting there. As I go through the new collections of different brands I find myself thinking that there are very few things that I really need... That is a step for me.

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  7. As a single parent, a life of less was forced on me when my son was very young. It's become an ingrained habit not to overindulge and to spend mindfully. I now find that I buy quality rather than quantity - but I still have moments of wanting to chuck everything in a skip (mostly hoarded craft materials). I find decluttering immensely liberating - I once read about being connected to everything we allow into our lives, whether bought or given, and having to use our energy to take responsibility for our stuff. It made so much sense to me so I try to move things on when appropriate. Lovely inspiration post, thank you for this!

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  8. Claire, I'm with you 100% on this! Life is indeed so much richer when we start focusing on non-shopping endeavors. When I started a green blog, I was writing about green products, but gradually I realized that the greenest thing to do was not to buy ANYTHING. Also, the posts I wrote (and still write) about minimalism and non-consumerism are the ones that mean the most to me, and seem to resonate the most with others. So many people have the "luxurious problem" of having too much stuff, at least in the western world...

    In case you're interested, this was one of my earliest posts on non-consumerism: http://www.joyfullygreen.com/2013/01/-breaking-up-with-the-ups-man-my-ode-to-non-consumerism.html.

    Really enjoying getting to know you and your blog. Thanks for the continued inspiration to have less stuff and be happier as a result.

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  9. Claire this is a wonderful post. You know you are on the path that brings the contentment that is right for you and you are inspiring others along the way.

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  10. I love the idea of less but I struggle with family members who love a bit more!

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  11. Thank you for such a great blog, you are so inspiring. I am much happier now having let go of my need to try to please others with "stuff" and image. That is where my previous spendthrift habits stem from, wanting others to see me in a certain way. Once I let that way of thinking go I have become so much more comfortable in my own skin and don't feel the need of approval from someone else. I've wasted so much money chasing after that approval. You sound as if you are at that point as well :) Cheers!

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  12. Lots of inspiration and food for thought here. I remember during Ireland's Celtic Tiger years hearing shopping being described as a new leisure activity and it just didn't sit right. I still like to shop occasionally and much more carefully, but would never like to think it was a hobby.

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  13. well said Claire, an inspiring post no less! Heather x

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