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Want Less Clutter? Buy Less Stuff September 18, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor, Less IS More.

Fred-'n-BarneyAs we entered the age of consumerism, we stopped sharing tools with neighbors, and started buying more and more toys for ourselves.

Our garages, whether one bay or three, are crammed full of rarely used items we must paw through when we need something.

Our interior living spaces have expanded as well, allowing us to store stuff  we rarely use:  closets have gotten larger, kitchens have more cabinets, and  playrooms look like toy stores.  We’ve gone from 1,200 sq. foot homes to McMansions (with rooms no one enters except on the occasional holiday), and we still don’t have space to store all our stuff.

We buy stuff that we don’t need, spend money that we don’t have, heat and cool rooms we don’t use, and rack up debt that we can’t repay.

Wikipedia ~ Moving Company (in Public Domain)

If your living space resembles an  obstacle course, or you park your  car in the driveway due to clutter in the garage, consider borrowing rather than buying the next time you need a piece of equipment that will remain “unemployed” for most of the year.

Borrowing rather than buying allows you to free up both money and space for stuff that really matters.

Powerwashing the House:  You’ve been waiting for Mother Nature to  wash the dirt and grime off your home’s exterior.  She’s not cooperating.

Instead of buying a power washer that will sit idle in your overflowing garage for most of the year, look for a house that seems cleaner than its neighbors.  When you see the homeowner outside in the yard, head over with a beer.  Bring 2 beers if you are feeling especially neighborly.

Admire the sparkle on his siding and wait for him to tell you about the latest piece of equipment that he has added to the clutter in his garage ~ his brand new Turbo-Charged Power Washer.

Give him his 15 minutes of fame while you admire his choice of tools.  Then, ask whether you could borrow it for a couple hours.

If he agrees, invite him (and the powerwasher) over for an adult beverage.  While he gets set up, head inside and grab a couple of beers.

If he offers to show you what his turbo-charged baby can do, relax and enjoy your beer as he demonstrates his glorified “fire hose.”  Don’t feel bad about this.  He offered.  He probably wants to hang around and drink beer with you to get out of doing his own chores.

If he powerwashes your entire house while you stand there drinking beer, remember to invite him over again next Spring.

220px-Peep-at-Christies-GillrayHanging Pictures in Your Loft:  Unless you live or work in an Art Gallery, artwork (once displayed) generally stays put until someone moves out and things need to be arranged.

If you live in a space with cathedral ceilings, you may need a ladder to hang a few pictures.

Before you run out to buy an extension ladder that will reach from the floor to the 40 foot peak of your loft, see if a neighbor, or the superintendent of the building, can loan you the tools you need to display your culture to the world.

To recap:

1.  Whether you live in the city or the country, on a farm or in a loft, it makes sense to borrow rather than buy those items that will not give you a regular return on your investment.

2.  Borrowing, instead of buying, will free up money for things that you can use and enjoy every day ~ like that 60″ LCD Hi Def that you’ve been eyeing.

3.  When you borrow, instead of buy, your living space (be it loft or garage) will be less congested ~ allowing you to stay put, instead of wasting even more money by moving into a larger space.

As an added bonus, you’ll meet people who live near you and learn who to invite to your next gathering (and who to avoid on the elevator).

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Clearing Clutter * Simplify Your Life * How To Clean The Garage *  Woman Found Dead Amid Clutter * Expand Your Time, Energy, and Money (Love Out Loud)


1. Carole - September 18, 2010

Excellent advice! Another idea–develop a rich “interior life” where you can dream, mentally travel, and enjoy life without THINGS.

nrhatch - September 18, 2010


I find that I need fewer and fewer THINGS to make myself happy . . . toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, and FOOD!

2. Tammy McLeod - September 18, 2010

Great post Nancy. I grew up where we did a lot of neighborly sharing. It’s a wonderful concept in creating community and in cutting down on all the cr*p.

nrhatch - September 18, 2010

Fostering a sense of community with neighbors creates unity in our increasingly cyber world. 8)

3. Ollin - September 18, 2010

Excellent observation on how consumerism has led to so much waste. It’s funny because this should be so obvious to people, and yet it isn’t. So I laugh because it’s so simple, and then I laugh with tears because people still don’t get it. Great post!

nrhatch - September 19, 2010

We hold these truths to be self-evident . . . we buy too much stuff. 8)

Thanks, Ollin!

4. mizzezmellymel - September 19, 2010

When I “purge” my closets in the spring and the fall, the first thing I ask myself is “Why, why, why?!!” It’s ridiculous how much stuff we buy without giving it another thought.

nrhatch - September 20, 2010

We’ve been avid clutter buster for 13 years, and I’m still amazed at the quantity of stuff we have stored in our small 2 bedroom villa.

We’re headed in the right direction, but we’ve miles to go before we sleep.

mizzezmellymel - September 20, 2010

Ahh…Robert Frost…that is one of my favorite poems. I know, I know…I’m totally off topic!! LOL!

nrhatch - September 20, 2010

It’s been awhile since I’ve read any of his poems, I should remedy that deficiency.

5. Loreen Lee - September 21, 2010

Just dropped by to pass on the latest from Guy Finlay because I think you appreciate it (before you delete it that is, grin grin). Enjoy.

Stop Choosing to Lose and Be Free

The rush to judgment is a race that no one wins!

For further understanding. . .

The Work that Makes Everyone a Winner

Exclusively for You…

In each instance where we see that we still have more to understand about ourselves, we must use our lives to become a living example of those qualities of character that we need to learn. In other words, in order to transcend what we have seen as limiting us, we must teach, by example, what we would further understand.

Say we’ve worked hard to be more aware of ourselves in the Now, and that for this effort we catch a glimpse of how quick we are to judge others, to criticize them for their “failings.” This pain that strains us — and those we touch with it — is itself a creation of a false sense of our own perfection. But our awareness of its punishing presence within us is the same as our invitation to transcend the negative nature that is responsible for it. So, if we want to realize the higher level of Self that reveals the need for further transformation, then we have work to do. We must actualize this new level of ourselves by acting from our new understanding in a whole different way.

It is not enough to just passively receive the lessons we are given. We must act upon their revelations and further clarify their import. This is why our willingness to teach for the purpose of learning is every bit as important as is our willingness to learn what we must in order to grow. Following is just one way to teach others, even as we ourselves are transformed by our own actions. It is vital for us to remember that this suggested practice is designed to help us achieve an enhanced spiritual balance in ourselves, even as, through this same action, we teach those around us about the possibility of living from a whole new order of self-understanding.

We teach others when we refuse to make snap judgments. The world around us receives the lesson that it’s possible to handle being “between a rock and a hard place” without crushing someone else with the pressure we feel.

Our lesson — if we will teach it — is that this same pain pushes us to pounce on others because that’s how it keeps its conflicted presence hidden within us.

Our real spiritual development is under invisible laws: To grow, we must learn. To learn, we must teach. To teach we must lead. To lead, we must make mistakes. Making mistakes tills the ground of us, making it receptive to new and higher lessons.

Always strive to remember that anything we work to change in ourselves cannot help but change everything. What can be more promising than that?
— Guy Finley

nrhatch - September 21, 2010

To learn, teach.

6. Greg Camp - September 21, 2010

I must speak up for collectors and accumulators. One value of owning rather than borrowing is independence. I get to decide what I do with my things. I can write in my books, modify my tools, delete the rubbish that Microsoft and others put on my computer, and throw the whole lot away if I wish. I can keep these things as long as I want. With borrowed items, none of this is permissible.

Another value is immediacy. Whatever I own is available to me when I need it or want it. I don’t require anyone to allow me to get at it.

Perhaps the matter that people like me need to consider is organization. The plastic tubs that kitty litter comes in are good for storage, and creativity with shelves and pegboards works wonders.

nrhatch - September 21, 2010

I’m not about to jettison everything and live the life of a nomad.

But if I only use something a few times a year, I feel more independent not having to take care of it the other 360 days. 8)

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