If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
– William Morris “The Beauty of Life,” 1880
I have been preaching and practising the process of living with less material things, and minimizing life on all aspects. From the elimination of things in your home to cutting off people that have a negative impact on your life. Yet, the past month I have been guilty of a few things that had me wonder if any of us are immune to life’s systematic persuasions. I have known that living and striving to be better is a ‘process’ and never an end goal, and sometimes we hit roadblocks and even the best of us will have challenging times.
My personal weakness is shopping. When I am feeling good and things in life are all aligned, I will go on a shopping binge for weeks. Trying to justify my purchases with ‘need’ and not ‘want’, but I know and have admitted to myself that this is a desire fulfilled, not a necessity. Fortunately, I have the means to do so, without stretching finances to quench this desire. However, the fact that I have been preaching minimalism and the idea of having empty spaces in your home and to remove clutter and unnecessary objects have made me rethink my human side.
None of us are totally immune to the psychology of marketing. When an item is on sale, when an item is scarce, when your friends are raving about a product, when famous people endorse your desired product, and lastly when the act of buying is almost frictionless – we are at the mercy of these temptations and even the strong will give in. It’s not like I would need another 11 pairs of socks (reg. price $23, sale price $4.99), nor do I need four Lacoste shirts, or 3 more pairs of pants. I wasn’t walking around sockless, shirtless, or pantless prior to this. In fact, my wardrobe was quite substantial and updated. And now I find myself trying to accommodate the newly purchased items. According to my theory and strict practice, I must now purge the same number of items from my existing closet to make space for newly acquired items. This will be challenging.
We value ‘losing’ more than gaining. Meaning that we will find it almost impossible to let things go. Hence, marketers will give you 30-days free subscription knowing that you will likely hang onto the service even after expiration. Are there old items in your home or closet that you would never part with, no matter how worn they are? I am constantly checking myself with each purchase. Asking the question: “Is there something that I am able to part with if I bring this item into my home?” If the answer is “yes”, the purchase is easy. If the answer is “maybe” or “no” the new purchase is debated over and over, until I am able to settle with letting something go or declining to make the purchase.
Living with fewer things will enable you to have more time, more mental capacity, more financial independence, and more inner peace. It’s a process and it gets easier to make decisions the more you practice this methodology. There are cases of extremists that live with nothing but a toothbrush, but for most of us, if we can at least be mindful of our habits and exercise restraint, we are already improving our lives in significant ways.
Neo B. Concio, Author: “The Millionaire Employee: Simple Steps to Freedom”