People think because I live a life of simplicity it must mean that I don’t spend money and I am frugal. I am not, just ask my husband. The difference is that I choose to spend my money on experiences with people and not on things. Possessions don’t thrill me. Sure I like a nice purse and a good pair of shoes. But I don’t need seven nice purses and 30 pairs of shoes.
We get trapped into thinking we need to keep buying. The media convinces us that and also convinces our children. But take a minute to think about what all that consumption adds up to. For some it is credit card debt. For others it could be missed opportunities. Perhaps their kids don’t invite friends over because the house is in bad shape. Believe me, you want to be that house where kids gather. The things you over hear and the stories you are told are priceless.
I am a big fan of seeing if I can borrow from a friend of family member before I purchase something that I don’t need for the long term. My neighbor has a great lawn edger and hedge trimmer. Things we only need to use once a year. I deliver some baked goods when we return their items and it is a fair trade in goods. Another friend borrowed me her expensive purse as you bought a new one. She didn’t need two. And I didn’t need to spend the money on a new one. I used it for a couple of months and returned it to her. My garage has my dad’s miter saw in it waiting for my husband to finish some trim work and our friend’s tile cutter for my husband to start the bathroom remodel. We are good caretakers of their possessions. Note to my husband, let’s get those projects done so we can return those tools!
Still not convinced that you want a life of simplicity, let me show you what living with less can do for you.
Cleaning: When you buy something to be displayed in your home ask if you love it enough to have to clean it. That fancy table that needs to be oiled twice a month. That silver that needs to be polished before you can use it once a year at Thanksgiving. Or how about that china that can only be hand washed. My favorite is the shirt that is dry clean only. I am a simple girl who doesn’t like to dust and run clothes to the dry cleaner. Ironically I have ruined more clothes by not taking the time to read the label.
Buying Duplicates: When you can’t find those double A batteries you simply buy some more. Same holds true for scissors, scotch tape and kids gloves. Instead of taking the time to get things organized and in an assigned place it is easier to buy duplicates. Often we don’t even know we are buying the duplicates. Then one day we get the urge to organize that junk drawer and find 57 double A batteries.
Shop with Purpose: Gone are the days of going shopping because we are bored and looking for something to do. When I shop for something it is because I need it. I go to the store to buy my running shoes because my new ones wore out. I am in and out of the store quickly saving me time and money.
Saving Your Weekends: In the upper Midwest we need a beautiful weekend to clean out our garage. I don’t know about you but I have better things to do. Last fall we did the big purge in our garage and donated about 50% of the contents. All the remaining things were placed in a closed cabinet or hanging on the wall. Now when we clean out the garage it takes 10 minutes to sweep the floor. Everything has its place and we aren’t adding anything new. It is stripped down to the essentials and our weekends are free to do other things.
Gathering Around The Table: When the kitchen table is cleaned off a family can eat a meal there or play a game. I know there were nights when I was running 17 different directions that it was easier to eat out than to clean off the table. Eating out costs more and chances are it isn’t as healthy for you. Then you have the added benefit of having a flat surface to play cards or a board game.
So take some time this week to see what a life of simplicity could do for you.
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things!