How to Be Happier with Less (Challenges Part 6)

 "If a little is good, more must be better!"  

Isn't that the mantra of our culture?  It goes with "Buy one, get one" (whether you need it or not), "Supersize it!" and "Why settle for less?"

"Sale" sign

It's never enough.

My parents never had much money to spare, but I have never experienced real poverty.  I imagine it's the same for most of you.  And today, we have everything we need and then some.  But our hyper-consumerist culture has convinced us that we need even more.  

  • It's not enough to have a house – we need to continually update and upsize our housing.  
  • It's not enough to have clothing – we need to follow trends that change every few months.
  • It's not enough to have a phone – we need to upgrade every time a newer model appears.
  • It's not enough to have a car – we need to trade it in every couple of years for something bigger and with more features.  

This attitude explains why our closets are packed with clothing and our shelves are crowded with collectibles.  It's part of the reason we carry so much debt and so many extra pounds.  Over-consumption really is the name of the game.

Living by this principle dooms us to remain unfulfilled.  Even as we're enjoying a wonderful experience or buying something useful and beautiful, we're looking around for what we will do or acquire next.

You might think that all of the extras in your drawers and closets represent innocent exuberance.  It's so fun to shop!  There are so many cute things!  And they're all on sale!  But ask yourself:  Are you satisfied?  Contented?  Or do you have a habit of always wanting just a little bit more?

Add a little happiness to your life by recognizing that you have enough.

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Thirty-minute Minimalist Challenges #16-18

16.  Declutter duplicates.

Grab a box or two and walk through your home.  Do you need two sets of measuring spoons?  Two slow cookers?  Two can openers?  Two drawers full of tee shirts plus 14 pairs of jeans?  Five coats?  Seven cooking spoons?  A dozen throw pillows?  28 mugs?  The answer is different for everyone.  This is also your chance to donate or recycle the phone, computer, printer, or other tech you've replaced with newer versions.  Do the same with CDs, movie discs, and game cartridges if you prefer digital, streamed, or downloaded versions.  

If you're worried that you won't have enough, hide the box for 30 days and see if you miss anything.  If not, take the box to the donation center.

17.  Toss misfits.

We all have things that are incomplete or no longer usable.  Examples include socks with no match, lidless Tupperware (or lids with no containers), keys and cords that don't belong to anything, games and puzzles with missing pieces, last year's calendar, old prescription glasses, etc.  Get rid of the things you've been keeping for no reason.

18.  Declutter books.

I love books.  But they take a lot of room, and they're HEAVY.  Even e-books can become clutter if you purchase a lot that you wind up not reading or that you read once and never refer to again.  I actually read more books when I use the library because I can check out anything that catches my eye without worrying about cost or storage.  

How many books should you keep?  The answer varies from person to person, but remember that the value comes from reading books, not from owning them.  Declutter what you can (One-fourth of your collection?  One-half?), and maybe you can remove a bookcase as well.

Related article:  How to Pare Down Your Home Library and Uncover the Books You Love

Subscribe to receive my free printable

The Declutter Dare

and declutter 100 items (or more) in just one hour!


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