31 Days of Cleansing: Day 15 Own Less and be More Satisfied

I have changed the title of this post several times. I almost deleted it entirely. But then I remembered that every time I think people won’t really be interested in something, Google Analytics proves me wrong. So, I decided I will let you all decide what you like and what you don’t like. This post is about how owning less can make you more satisfied. Who doesn’t want to be more satisfied?

Years ago, we lived in a beautiful 3 story house that was almost 2700 square feet. It had 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a third story game room and exercise room, a wine/fruit cellar, and a beautiful garden with a pergola and fountains. We loved it, and we lived there for many years. We filled our home with children and all sorts of beautiful things. Some day I will tell you about it, but not today. 
The time came when we had to move into a ugly tiny 1200 square foot 2 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath house and leave our beautiful home. It took me more than 6 months to figure out how we could squeeze our family of 6 into it. But I realized along the way, that owning less stuff was incredibly liberating. Less is MORE.

So today, when I talk about Cleansing your mind, you understand where I am coming from. We have moved 5 times in the last 5 years, and I have pared down more and more. This is my winter mantle, it’s not much to write about. I don’t have beautiful silver or glassware to put on it. Just one great piece of art, few pine cones and Grandpa’s antique cow bell. That’s about it. I think that’s all it needs. I don’t have extra boxes of stuff lurking in the attic to rummage through to find something else to put up, this is it. When I am done with this display I will sell or give it all away so I don’t have to store it. Less is More.

Less is More. That’s my decorating philosophy. But it spills over into other areas as well…

We enjoy watching movies, but we decided we didn’t need to own them. We subscribe to Netflix, where you pay a monthly fee of $8.99 to instantly watch TV shows and movies (a great resource for home schoolers by the way, they have just about anything that you are studying). They have hundreds of titles available, so we sold all our movies and now have more shelf space.
The same goes for our kids video games. Our kids recently discovered Gamefly, another online service that specializes in video games. They have all types including Xbox 360, PS3, DS, wii and Kinect. Starting at $5.95 per month, you can get the latest games sent to you in the mail. The kids play the games until they have beaten them (there is no time frame, you can keep the games as long as you want, no late fees) and then we send them back. They love it. I love it because I don’t have to run to the rental store, and there are no late fees. We don’t need to own any of them, so we sold them all. This little stack above netted me a whopping $91.00 at the resale store. It’s so nice not to have all that stuff cluttering up our TV room. Less is More.

What does your closet look like? Are you one of those super organizers? I am not an organizer. But I have discovered from other great mom’s that I don’t have to be super organized if we have less stuff. Organizing stresses me out and I hate doing it because it’s hard for me. It’s even harder for my children, especially those that are right brained. Did you know that? Right brained minds do not know how to organize. They just don’t think that way. If you have a messy child they could be right brained. Don’t stress them out by having too much stuff that they can’t keep track of.
This is our boys closet. We have 3 boys that share one bedroom. It may be a bit messy, but this closet holds clothes for 3 teenagers. Actually, there are even things in this closet that need to be eliminated because no one wears them. How many clothes do your kids have? Our kids are only allowed to own what they can wear in one week. I know this is radical. They each own 3 pairs of casual pants and one pair just for Sundays. They also have 3-4 T-shirts, and 1-2 dress shirts or polos. One coat per season, one pair of boots, one pair of tennis shoes, and one pair of dress shoes. The only exception is their uniform for their Explorers group. This closet may be a bit messy, but they can clean it in a matter of minutes. It also makes doing laundry so much easier. The kids can do it themselves in no time. Since we buy most things used, we just give them back to the thrift store when we are done with them.
I have a friend who makes a living organizing for other people. She is great at it. One of the gals she works for hires her to help with her laundry. Her family of 5 has so much laundry they have to hire another person to help wash and iron it all. I can’t imagine doing that when owning Less is More.

Then there are the music CD’s. I don’t own that many, but I am planning to download them all to my computer or cell phone and sell all the CD’s. I will have even more shelf space!
These are just a few areas where cutting back is easy. I have issues with books, but I can tell that with our Kindle and Nook, those will soon be disappearing as well. We own one set of sheets for each bed, one set of towels for each person, one place setting of dishes. We only keep the board games that we regularly play, and if we haven’t used it in the last 6 months, it’s gone no matter what it is. We like things that way. Less clutter, less to clean, less to take care of. Simplicity is GOLD.
I once met a guy who had lived a very blessed life with a big house, lots of money and lots of material stuff. He worked all the time to support his lifestyle but it didn’t make him happy. One day his wife up and left him, and he began to change his ways. He reflected on how perfect their life had been when they were first married and lived in a one room apartment. It was perfect. What happened? All that stuff got in the way.
He went back to school and simplified his life. He sold most of what he owned, and could then fit everything he had into the back of his Subaru. He said he wouldn’t ever go back to his old lifestyle.
There is an up and coming movement of those who are attempting to live simple lives. I have read stories of people selling their dream homes and living on houseboats with no mortgage, no taxes, and no utility bills. There are little 100 square foot huts you can buy to live in and park it anywhere you choose. Have you ever seen the movie RV? I keep telling my husband we could live in an RV, he still isn’t convinced.

Check out this video of Jay’s tiny 89 square foot home. With nearly two million views, it’s no small thing! This home is adorable! Less stuff can be more satisfying.
Where do you start? Make it a goal to begin with the shelves and closets in your home. Give away or sell half of everything on them. Once you get started you won’t want to quit!
Less is More!
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