In the West our consumer society tends to value chasing more and more stuff as if each new thing adds more and more value to our lives. But when we really think about it, it doesn’t. Really what we need to do is query exactly what we need in our lives, what stuff actually improves our lives and what stuff is just unnecessary doo-dads that we buy because everybody else has one or because it’s the latest thing.
It’s worth taking the time to query everything that we have and why we have it. What value does each thing add? What do we most enjoy using? What do we use every day? And what just sits there looking good but never being used? What did we buy because it looked cool but now clutters up a cupboard or floor space? What is being kept “just in case” but never actually gets used. It’s surprising what we realise about our things when we investigate a little further. It makes us aware that actually some inexpensive things are the most useful to us and some things that we think we value because they were expensive or we thought they we cool at the time are actually of least value to us. It’s quite liberating. If we can go a step further and give away or sell those things which don’t actually improve our lives then it can make us feel a lot lighter.
We can also apply this thinking before we acquire any new stuff. Do we want it because it fulfils a need in our life? Will it definitely improve our life? Or do we just want it because it looks shiny and new and the advert was appealing? An example of this is a recent temptation for me to buy a tablet computer. They look cool and they’re swish and modern and a lot of my friends have them. But when I actually look at the value that owning one would bring to my life it’s negligable. The core role which a tablet would perform at home is already better fulfilled by my laptop and the role which it would perform out of the house is perfectly well fulfilled by my phone. So I haven’t bought one.
In my opinion more stuff is not better, enough stuff is best. How this applies to each of us is individual. Your perfect amount of enough stuff will differ from mine. A twenty-something single city-dweller’s perfect amount of stuff will differ from a rural farmer’s with a family of 6 but the point is that our lives actually feel better when everything we have is useful and of value to us.
The more I have thought about this concept, the more intolerant of clutter I have become in my home. Things are no longer kept “just in case”. If something isn’t adding to my life, then it’s gone, simple as that, hopefully to an owner who’s life it will add value to.
My general philosophy is that chasing more stuff causes inefficiency, wastage, clutter, fat, bloat, excess, deprivation for others, greed, jealousy and stress. Having just enough stuff is contentment, efficiency, satisfaction, mind at ease, having a place for everything and everything in its place.