I know I just wrote An Intro to The Intro two minutes ago, but, in my head, these were two separate posts. So I've just gotta roll with it that way. :)
Let me start by tell you what Living With Less is NOT:
There's an article in the recent August 2011 issue of the Martha Stewart Living magazine that I've been thinking about a lot lately. Now I love Martha Stewart and the magazines she publishes. But there is something about this article in particular that drives me crazy.
The article is all about this adorable family that decided to make their vacation home their full-time home. And it mentions in the article that, since the vacation house they were having built was considerably smaller than the house they were moving from, they had to downsize a lot. It talks about how they chose out their favorite items from their many collections to display in their home. It talks about how the books you see on their shelves are only a fraction of what they own. Which is all fine and good. But what kills me is the fact that they didn't actually "downsize" at all. They just put the rest in storage.
That, my friends, is what Living With Less is not.
What Living With Less IS:
Living With Less doesn't simply mean just having less of your stuff in your house. It means owning less. It means not having so much junk that you don't know what you own. It means having one stapler and knowing where it is. And it means having a stapler you love.
Living With Less means you have the permission--at any and all times--to get rid of the stuff you don't like. And what's the big deal about that? It gives you the following:
- Room in your closets
- Clarity of mind
- Extra money
- Freedom to live the way you want to live
Getting rid of the extra things in life is more than just cleansing your closets.
"But I might need it someday!"
I feel like talking about this is jumping way ahead of myself, but I think it needs to be said before you tune out completely.
This, my friends, is the pack rat motto. I can tell you this for sure because I definitely used to be (and I often still fight the urge of being) a pack rat.
So I'll give it to you straight. It's true. You might want that thing back someday. But it's probably not worth the storage space between that day and today. So sell it or give it away. Somebody else can use it. You don't have to keep every single thing.
To my fellow pack rats I say, "Let go of the junk! Be free!"
What I want you to know:
Living With Less is an on-going process. As long as you're alive and as long as you have stuff, the process will never stop. My husband Bryan and I first started to try Living With Less when we were living in our very first (and very tiny) apartment as newly weds. We (and particularly I) had brought all this stuff into our new home when we got married.
A lot of it, quite frankly, was Junk. But we really didn't know it at the time. Because, unfortunately, Junk often looks a whole lot like Stuff Worth Keeping. And it's hard to tell the difference when you're not sure which is which. But, the more you sort, the more you'll figure it out. And the more you figure it out, the more stuff you'll realize is Junk. And the more Junk you get rid of, the more you'll find room (in your home and in your heart) to treasure the Stuff Worth Keeping.
Note: If Living With Less is something you're interested in, I highly suggest It's Here... Somewhere by Alice Fulton. I haven't actually read this book, but I have listened to Alice Fultion speak on several occasions at an informal lecture series organized by the women in my church. During the lectures Alice shared several of the fundamental ideas from her book and discussed many wonderful ideas on Living With Less.
I want to mention her book here at the outset of my series because my ideas and methods have been heavily influenced by what she shared in her lectures and I want to give her the credit she deserves. Her ideas about organization are timeless. And well worth your time.
See the entire Living With Less series HERE.