Accumulate Less in a Material World

Uncluttered: beautiful & relaxing

Living a less-is-more lifestyle can be challenging. I aspire to let go of material things and live more minimal, but I’m also not fooling myself – I can’t survive with one pair of shoes. Or even six pairs of shoes. What’s a girl to do when they all spark joy? Not to worry, I have a couple of tips to help you accumulate less in a material world.

A couple of books on minimalism that I enjoyed are Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” It is inspiring and at the very least provides some practical tips like the best way to fold your clothes. I had no idea I was doing it wrong.

Everything That Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists” is extreme. Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus make Marie look like a hoarder. Seriously. And for all things zen, there is, Leo Babauta’s blog about slowing down and living a simple life. This speaks to my soul.

My home is modest, and I have an aversion to clutter. The problem is that I like to shop. I know, I’m a walking contradiction, but who can relate? I know, right? Honestly, for me it boils down to instant gratification, plus I’m a stress shopper. Some people eat when life is out of balance; I shop. If I let it get out of control, I find myself hauling loads to donation on a regular basis. I’m all for donating, but I would rather not have the excess to begin with. Who’s with me?

Here are a couple of tips that can help you simplify and accumulate less in a material world:

1. Resist impulse purchases. Do you actually need the item? The answer is usually no. For example, if you’re looking at a pack of four boot socks, but you have a drawer full at home and these are simply a nice color you don’t have, you don’t need them. If you want the socks, then ask yourself if you will wear them more than a few times, or will they be a once per year hoorah with a certain pair of boots that seldom sees your feet. These two questions can be your armor against dragging home bear paw slippers that are too heavy to stay on your feet and thus, serve no purpose other than to relieve you of your hard-earned cash.

2. Shop solo. We all enjoy girl time, which sometimes involves shopping, but when shopping becomes a social outing, pay close attention to number 1 above. It’s easy to be drawn into the flattery of sincere and well-meaning friends, but just because Suzie loves that top on you it does not mean you need to buy it. If you’re not going to be comfortable in it, if it’s not your style, leave it on the rack. Or if you’re on the fence, try it on and do a fun little photo shoot. Then decide how you like it in the pictures. That’s always a good one for me–the pics don’t lie!

Buy it only if it looks great on you and you love it!

These tips work for any type of shopping–not just clothes and footwear. I was in the habit of buying a lot of kitchen items…and I don’t cook! I finally started asking the questions above when I would find things like the prettiest set of mixing bowls or a bundle of spatulas. Super cute; would never be used.

If you’re someone who has no interest in simplifying or decluttering, well I’m sorry you’ve read this far. Ha! I’m not here to make anyone feel that they need to live a certain way–that’s your business. But, if you want to accumulate less, use these strategies to quiet the clutter!