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Buy Less. Do More. November 8, 2012

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

IMGP1472aMy life, like most, has had ups and downs, good decisions and bad,  and more than my fair share of mistakes and challenges.

But they all led to this door.  So, no regrets.

Except one.

When I look at the collective accumulation of stuff in our living space and closets . . . I am filled to overflowing with “buyer’s remorse.”

Not in specific.  Just in general.

If I could go back and tell my younger self or a good friend just one thing, it would be:

Buy Less. Do More.

We travel best when we travel light.

The best way to avoid clutter is not to purchase it in the first place.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Posts:  Tell us something you’ve done that you would advise a friend never to do (WP Prompt) * Woman Found Dead Amid Clutter * CCD: Compulsive Clutter Disorder

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Susanna posted the 8 Finalists from the Halloweensie Contest yesterday morning . . .  and I’m in the running!

If you want to vote, click this link and Vote for your Favorite!

They’re all in one place . . . so it’s one stop shopping.  No clicking back and forth between blogs.  Simple, right?  And nothing to clutter up your house!  😉


1. ryoko861 - November 8, 2012

Nah, buy more, get a bigger home.

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

Not a chance. Been there, done that. 🙄

Unless, of course, you’re volunteering to come over and keep it clean for us . . . and could you pay the heating and cooling bills too? :mrgreen:

ryoko861 - November 8, 2012

Make sure it has a fireplace. And get lots of fans. Sure, I’ll clean it! I don’t mind cleaning. Might cost ya though. Yeah, I hear ya though, been there, at least with the big house. Downsized 10 years ago. Not sure that was the best idea but it only takes me half the time now to clean it. Had to come up with some creative storage and display solutions. Needless to say I have three curio cabinets, and two wall hung ones as well. Shelves are a blessing!

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

Our 2nd house was our biggest . . . way too B~I~G for 2 people with 5 bedrooms and 3 baths. But it was close to my law office and GREAT for throwing parties.

Our next house was 1/2 the size . . . much better for the 2 of us. But, as Goldilocks would say, this house, the smallest we’ve owned, is “Just Right” ~ for this stage of life, anyway.

The more we’ve distilled our possessions to “the essence” the happier we’ve become. But I still look around and think, “Why did I buy THAT?” 😉

2. aawwa - November 8, 2012

Today I went through my wardrobe and bagged up two big bags of clothes to give away! It felt SO good! I thought about how it doesn’t pay to rush into buying things – they may be cheap or on sale but they don’t add much value to my life! Your post is spot on 🙂

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

Yes! It’s a great feeling to clear out the clutter . . . to weed out our closets of STUFF that is just collecting dust.

One of the best “bad things” that ever happened to us was a flood in the basement. As we emptied out the smallest room in the house to put down a new carpet, the tower of possessions horrified us. Too Much Stuff weighs us down. When we simplify, we are freed of all that excess weight.

Aah . . . that’s better!

3. Katie - November 8, 2012

Good advice! Now if only it was easy to accept… 😉

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

Like any sort of “diet,” if it feels like deprivation, it won’t be easy to accept of apply.

When we change our perspective to what we are GAINING as we shed possessions (or pounds), we realize we are rewarding ourselves, not punishing ourselves.

But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding . . . clean out a closet, drawer, or room. Donate or sell what you no longer need. Assess how you feel ~ before, during, and after.

Studies show that people report greater clarity, less stress, and a feeling of liberation when they shed the unnecessary.

4. kz - November 8, 2012

b-b-b-ut no more shopping? 😦 seriously though great advice! 🙂

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

You made me laugh, kz. I hung on to clutter because I never much enjoyed shopping. Keeping IT (whatever IT was) meant that I wouldn’t have to shop for another IT again.

You might be interested in this post:

The book, by Peter Walsh, draws interesting parallels between the clutter in our living spaces, our heads, and on our hips. If he’s correct, working to clear clutter in any one of these areas tends to spill over ~ creating positive results in other areas of our lives as well.

I do think that life starts flowing more freely when we don’t hold on so tightly. We see opportunities as they present themselves, and have the energy to take advantage of them.

kz - November 8, 2012

the problem with me is that i am a shopaholic and at the same time i tend to keep stuff… clothes that i haven’t worn yet/ will never wear again but somehow i just can’t part with them.. it’s like i always convince myself that i’ll be using them “someday” lol. thanks i’ll check out the post ^^

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

To effectively clear clutter, I changed my perspective.

nstead of asking: “Would I maybe possibly someday want to have this object, article, or knick knack in my life?”

I started asking: “If this object, article, or knick knack had not appeared in my life . . . would I have missed it?”

If no . . . I let it go.

Once we got rid of something, we’ve never wanted to reclaim IT ~ out of sight, out of mind.

5. granny1947 - November 8, 2012

I stopped impulse buying a long time ago.
Moving into one room has completely stopped me.
No room for another thing.

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

You might enjoy this clip:

6. spilledinkguy - November 8, 2012

I HATE clutter… but I’m often tempted to store things I think I can use for future projects. I’m starting to get a lot of paintings leaning up against walls now too – which also bothers me a bit (I need to come up with a safe / effective way to deal with that). 🙂

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

The new villas across the way from us ran chair rail around the room (at various heights) to use as a narrow shelf . . . allowing them to swap out art without needing a hammer and nail.

A “plum” of an idea since everything stayed plumb.

7. Zen and Genki - November 8, 2012

Agree 100%! Less clutter all the way!

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

It really is the ONE thing I would change about my life.

Instead of wandering around stores, cooing, “oh, look, this is so cute,” before purchasing IT and taking IT home . . . I would admire IT and move on to the next adorable (but unnecessary) IT before heading home with empty hands and open arms. 😀

8. suzicate - November 8, 2012

”buyer’s remorse.” Not in specific. Just in general. – yes, yes, yes! Makes me wonder what I was thinking…oh right, I wasn’t thinking!

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

That’s the thing . . . I almost never buy “big ticket” items without thinking things through and making sure I really want to adopt the item in question.

It’s the little impulse buys that get crammed into drawers, cupboards, and closets. When we learn to “just say no,” we create space for what matters. Us.

9. suzicate - November 8, 2012

Same way here…we always think through the big stuff. Still, makes no sense for us not to think through all the stuff that gets crammed into the cabinets, drawers, and closets.

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

Whenever I straighten up a drawer or closet . . . or tackle the garage, basement, or attic . . . the added space is always appreciated! Even when it’s not in my immediate field of vision.

I know and that’s enough.

10. judithhb - November 8, 2012

It was difficult deciding what to keep and what to give away when I moved into this much smaller house. Friends said I would feel so much better when I got rid of the clutter. But often I look for something and then find it isn’t there – given away. So be very sure before you get rid of something, it may be just what you need soon. And isn’t that why we have all this stuff around us?

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

Having stuff we use, need, or love is great . . . hanging on to stuff we don’t use, need or love holds little appeal for me.

We must each be guided by our own priorities.

Like you, I have (on rare occasion) looked for something only to remember that I donated it ~ each time I found something else to use in its stead.

11. Andra Watkins - November 8, 2012

When we pack for a trip in a couple of weeks, we’re both taking disposable clothes. 🙂

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

That’s great . . . are you going to bring “real clothes” that you’re tired of, so you can donate them THERE to make room for souvenirs to bring back HERE?

Is this your trip to Iceland/Greenland?

Andra Watkins - November 8, 2012

We’re taking clothes that are worn out and really don’t fit. Always a good place to get rid of underwear and socks that have seen better days.

And yes, usually it is part plot to bring back a few things. We’re going to Helsinki, and it is the International Design Capital this year. MTM will be skipping around in weird-stuff heaven. 🙂

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

Helsinki, right. I remembered it being somewhere cold . . . that’s why I thought ICELAND.

And that’s a great way to clean out your closets . . . plus if your luggage gets lost, who cares. 😉

12. Barbara Backer-Gray - November 8, 2012

About every six months I have the urge to purge, and I go through the whole house looking for things we can do without. It always results in a very generous donation to Goodwill. I’ve never yet regretted getting rid of anything.

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

Sounds like us . . . I’m amazed at how much we still have on hand after our many donations runs. Stuff must multiply when we aren’t looking. 😉

13. jannatwrites - November 8, 2012

Every time we take a load of stuff to Goodwill, I wonder how I ended up with so much stuff. I like to clear stuff out because seeing empty floor and table tops is relaxing to me,

nrhatch - November 8, 2012

Yes . . . gathering up the stuff and sticking in it the trunk makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. Order restored (for a time anyway).

14. Pocket Perspectives - November 10, 2012

I like that…buy less, live more. And wow!…that apartment is amazing! Like the golden light through the tinted windows, too!

nrhatch - November 10, 2012

Isn’t that apartment awesome ~ he’s even got a screening room and a hammock.

Maybe if we re-think our living space, we can downsize again! We’ve gone from 4000 to 2000 to 1000 . . . next up, 500? Probably not. Maybe 750.

15. Three Well Beings - November 10, 2012

I am right there with you on this! And to say “no” to all the family pass downs! I have a ton of them! 🙂

nrhatch - November 10, 2012

Yes! There is no such thing as a FREE thing-a-ma-jig. Everything has a price tag when we consider the time and energy we must devote to storing it, cleaning it, caring for it, maintaining it, displaying it, or just walking around it.

16. Booksphotographsandartwork - November 10, 2012

I did a little clearing out last night as a matter of fact. Still far too much. How did all of this stuff get in my house?!

nrhatch - November 10, 2012

I know, right? That’s the way I always feel. I look around and am amazed at the accumulation. (At least it’s not piles of snow).

17. Patricia - November 10, 2012

I am learning that less is more. My brother was a hoarder…I have a real fear that it will happen to me. It’s a very sad thing….

nrhatch - November 11, 2012

I’m not sure how someone turns the corner from “having clutter” to “being a hoarder,” but the less stuff you bring into your living space, the better. Especially newspapers and magazines that pile up super fast. Good luck.

Patricia - November 11, 2012

In my brother’s case I think he began hoarding because he had so many important people in his life die that he needed something that no one could take away from him. He was so sad and lonely.

nrhatch - November 11, 2012

I expect you’re right, Patricia . . . we feel that by hanging on to STUFF we can find some measure of security and comfort.

But the converse is true. The more willing we become “let go,” the faster we discover the ever-present comfort of inner peace.

18. mpejovic - November 11, 2012

I’m in the process of cleaning up our closets because we’re shuffling the bedrooms around. It feels great to get rid of stuff. And we don’t even have a lot of stuff to start with.

nrhatch - November 11, 2012

Moving around as much as we have has really helped to keep things in check . . . but I still have stuff that needs to be evicted.

Buying less stuff really is the ONE thing I would change about my life.

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