The Power in Less

In aiming for the American dream, I, like many others, had the belief that the more I had, the happier I would be. I had thoughts about success having a lot to do with numbers, specifically those that are preceded by dollar signs. I always knew that this was not true. The best things in life come with those around you, but I, as a youngling with a fresh college diploma and eyes full of hope, was very tempted by it.

Reality has been kind in helping me keep away from temptation. I have to say that it isn’t always easy, but understanding what I should use money for has been a huge stepping stone in my adult life. Like in any of my other confessions, this is a work in progress, but I believe that I am a good learner.

I tell my sister, don’t be fooled by the freedom that you believe spending gives you. The joy does not come from buying, but from being able to easily say yes or no. Those who don’t have are forced to say no to even those things they really need. Those who have can easily say either but might be compelled to say yes to more than is healthy. Say yes to the things that truly add value to you. These are the ones that will make your life better.

Because we only need so much, yes shouldn’t be such a common word to say. We shouldn’t say yes just because it is cute, because it is part of a collection, or because our friend has it. We should only say yes because it helps our lives and because we really enjoy it. Spare yes represents less things, but of higher value. The value should be to you, and sometimes financial. Thus, less is more.

However, many of us haven’t truly understood the beauty of less. Maybe this list of benefits can allure you:

  1. Simpler life: A life with less things can require less effort needed to do the day-to-day things.
  2. More money and time back: You don’t have to spend as much in order to keep up with your belongings.
  3. …which leads to more money and time towards the things you like: You free up space in your life for what you truly want to accomplish.
  4. Having things you really like: Using items you enjoy makes whatever you are doing more pleasant.
  5. Knowing more about yourself: This is the jewel on the crown. Getting rid of the items you don’t like or use leave you with those that you do. Having extra time and money allows you to devote yourself to you and yours. Understanding the particulars of what you enjoy helps you understand who you are.
Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

For this reason, I encourage you to view your items in a different light, and discard all those that don’t add to your life. It might just be a tray you never need, a top that is too colorful, a mug that is not dishwasher friendly, or an uncomfortable chair. Remove items that you don’t like (keep those that bring joy in Marie Kondo’s language), and anything that you wouldn’t repurchase were you to see it in the store again. Stop thinking that you might need it one day. If you haven’t used it, you most probably won’t. If it is super easy to replace and less than $20, bye Felicia.

Please note that this is not about being an extremist, only owning one fork and one plate, but about being purely you, without things to stand up for who you think you are or should be. If you like media like my husband does, keep it! Just make sure that you are keeping what you would reuse and not something that you enjoyed but won’t dedicate much time to again.

Moving towards less is not an easy task, but I know that you can do it, because I have and still do it myself. I plan on going deep into why this is important to our identity. In the meanwhile, I challenge you to start taking back the right to say yes and no. Find one thing that you no longer use or just don’t like. Toss it or give it away. One item can give you the courage to move to two items, then three items, and on and on until all you have is what you truly want.

Let me know what you decide to let go of first. That is interesting to me.

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