Thursday, March 26, 2015

Less Is More

For the first time since 1980, I now have no ties to Florida. We sold our condominium a couple of weeks ago. For those of you who don't know my story, this condo was purchased when my husband and I sold our house in Florida and I moved to Virginia. My husband continued commuting back and forth to his firm in Florida for seven years and this condo was his home base. Now that he's here full time, we no longer need the condo and, although I had no trouble leasing it, it was just one more thing that complicated my life. 

But having the condo showed me how simple life can be, too. On the occasions when I had to be in Florida after the move to Virginia, I had to streamline everything. Just prior to my move, I made sure the condo was furnished with the necessities of life but not much more. We had just enough plates, cups, and utensils for four people plus linens for the beds and bathroom. We didn't have cable television, a land line phone, or internet. I kept a few articles of clothing there. So when I visited, I packed very light, bringing a few toiletries, a couple of changes of clothes, and a book or two. 

Cleaning  was simple in the condo. After eating, I would quickly wash everything for use at the next meal. We had a small washer/dryer stack in the kitchen so I could easily wash clothes as needed. I could vacuum the entire place without unplugging the vacuum cleaner! As for entertainment, there was a small television and DVD. When I visited, we would sometimes rent a movie to watch - or we'd just spend the evening reading our most current books. Getting internet access was a matter of planning my errands to include a trip where there was free WiFi. That way, I had to be purposeful with my time - I couldn't spend hours in a coffee shop or bookstore - so I planned what I needed on the internet and did no more. I functioned just fine without all the excess that is normally part of my life.

Author Jennifer Scott talks about her similar experience with simplicity when she had work done on her apartment:

As Jennifer points out, it's surprising what little you need to get by. Having less often makes you appreciate it more. Plus, since having fewer things means less time spent maintaining them, you have more time to pursue what you truly enjoy and care about. 

And author Bea Johnson shares here minimalist wardrobe on her blog:
Bea is a chic and savvy woman yet requires few pieces of clothing to maintain her look. In addition, she thrifts most of her clothing which increases her coolness factor in my eyes.

Although I probably have far fewer clothes than your average American woman, I'm still not there yet. Reading Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up made me rethink some of what I own. I'm not yet ready to follow her program but I have purged several worn out and seldom worn items from my closet and plan to continue to do so. For the items I do wear, I'll continue wearing them until they're worn out or I stop wearing them, then I'll consider whether or not they need to be replaced. Maybe some day I'll be close to the minimalist wardrobe that Bea has. That will come in handy when I've achieved my dream of spending a year traveling and living in a small travel trailer - a condo on wheels!


Dani said...

Well done. Less is definitely more :)

David said...

Cherie, I'm also in the throes of minimizing my stuff. It is more than just clothes with me. The saving because I might use it someday syndrome bug has infected me for years. I really must do some cleaning up of the garage and storage shed. My basement has been the focus of attention for a couple years. When my wife was alive we filled up the basement with stuff that was never seen again for decades. I have made some progress down there but still, it has a long ways to go before it will become useable again. My wife was a border line hoarder and when she died we had bedrooms full of stuff front to back, floor to ceiling. I have reclaimed the bedrooms many years ago and was amazed that we never had bugs or mold in those rooms. So yeah, less is better and I'm working on it little by little. :-)

Have a great less is better day.

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

I have read Jennifer Scott's 2 books, Marie Kondo's amazing book & Bea Johnson's book & subscribe to her blog.

All have good advise to offer

Cherie said...

Shona, I've been wanting to read Jennifer Scott's books but our library doesn't carry them. Maybe some day...

April Michelle said...

This post inspired me to reduce the clutter in my life. I was already removing things that were more of a burden than a joy (Facebook being the main one), but this inspired me to continue. There are some things I won't be able to touch (like Phil's collection of video game consoles), but I'm still making progress. I hope to read Kondo's book, but there are only a handful of copies in our library system and 170+ holds currently. It might be a while for me.

Cherie said...

April, I was surprised that I was able to get Kondo's book so quickly. It's a good read, although I did disagree with some of her philosophy. I've pretty much given up on facebook, except for business purposes - it's just too much mental clutter for me.