NewsThere is actually more joy in owning less 

There is actually more joy in owning less 

There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.” —Jackie French Koller

I heard an ad on the radio the other day for one of those loans where you sell a share of your home and you receive a lump sum cash amount to spend. When you sell, they get an agreed percentage of the future sale proceeds of your home, whenever that might be. The ad was aimed at Fiftyups who are considering downsizing and included the line “would you still be able to enjoy a lifetime of collected treasures”.

A lifetime of treasures….or a house full of crap? I guess it depends on how you look at it. The older I’m getting the more I’m realising that I’m a minimalist. Trouble is, I live with a hoarder. My dear old mum is 82 and we share a house that we both have equity in. It is just as much hers as it is mine, so it’s important that she surrounds herself with her “things”.

But it’s driving me crazy. Lately I’ve taken to making things mysteriously disappear when she’s not looking. For example, the statue pictured above has been sitting on top of the fridge my entire adult life. I’ve seen it, read it, get it, now hate it. When mum went on holidays in 2014, I thought I’d test my theory as to whether she would even notice it was gone…….nope…’s now taking up landfill somewhere in Sydney….thank goodness. Mum also loves writing quotes and notes and sticky taping them all over the kitchen cupboards. It’s a sore point for me….

From the moment we’re born, we’re told to pursue more. Ads from every television, radio, newspaper, magazine, billboard, and website scream to us on a daily basis that more is better.

As a result, we work hard hours so that we can spend countless dollars purchasing the biggest homes, fanciest cars, trendiest fashions, most popular toys, and coolest technologies.

But we all know it’s not true. We all know, deep-down, that happiness can not be bought at a department store—more is not necessarily better. We’ve just been told the lie so many times we begin to believe it.

I’ve noticed though there is a swing towards simplifying things. How many times have you seen Top 3, 3 or 10 lists? I often feature them here in the newsletter to entice you to read more..if it’s only 3 things, you’ve got time for that right?

Oprah once said “We wear 10% of our clothes 90% of the time”. How true is that?

Canadian Air Force pilot Matt Souveny started the 10 Item Wardrobe Challenge. He pared his wardrobe down to 10 items (not including socks, underwear and outerwear). The 10 items include one pair of pants, one pair of shorts, two T-shirts, one button-down, one sweatshirt, one pair of joggers, one pair of boots, a blazer and a belt. That’s it.

Matt is chronicling his experiment on his blog This Stylish Life. Here’s some of what he wrote about his first month:

What I have found is that choosing what I wear each day is dictated only by what is clean and the weather outside. I don’t think about colours, social encounters, or situations. I have stopped chasing sales online or thinking about how to fill this or that imaginary gap in my wardrobe. It has given me more free time away from the internet and I’ve actually started reading books again, which I haven’t had the time to do for years. I guess I was too busy shopping.

A few years ago I spent a couple of weeks at a holiday park on the NSW Central Coast. We stayed in a beach house that included a kitchen with basic kitchen utensils:

  • Tongs x 2
  • Spatula
  • Slotted spoon
  • Carving Knives x 2 (Serrated and non serrated)
  • Grater
  • Potato masher
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Can Opener
  • Corkscrew
  • Measuring cups
  • Table spoon
  • Pasta claw thingy
  • 6 x bread and butter knives
  • 6 x steak knives
  • 5 x forks
  • 6 x desert spoon
  • 6 x teaspoon
  • Pepper and Salt
  • Pair of Salad spoons
  • Colander
  • I skillet pan
  • 3 x saucepan (small medium and large)

We stayed there for two weeks and honestly I didn’t need anything else. When I look at the second draw in my kitchen at home (or anyone else’s kitchen for that matter), it’s full of other stuff that never gets used like the garlic press (we buy crushed in a jar) and the pizza cutter (a knife works just as well).

Just imagine if you could or had to, get rid of all of you belongings. Would you buy as much stuff the second time around?

Here’s a Top 3 to try at home (it’s only 3 remember..)

Living With Less

Decorations.  Take a moment to walk through your home with a discerning eye. Leave only the decorations that are the most meaningful and the most beautiful. Your home will begin to share your story in a beautiful way.

Cooking Utensils. We need far less cooking utensils than we currently own. See my list above and get rid of everything else.

Furniture. Removing excess furniture from your rooms will immediately open up significant space and airflow in your home. The rarely-used pieces of furniture in your home are quickly recognizable and taking up more space than you realize.

Do you live with less? Share your stories below...I'd love to hear them..Kayley



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sandra from QLD commented:

As it happens, I did not have a lot of stuff as I walked away from my 30 year marriage with practically nothing, by choice. I like the feeling of not being held down by stuff. I only had two saucepans and little other cooking utensils. People worried for me and tried to buy me things. I recently decided to try housesitting for a while so gave away what furniture I had and other bits and reduced my stuff down to the most important. I have 5 boxes of stuff now. 

carmen from NSW commented:

What a great subject. I sorted my wardrobe and shopping problems by having my colours done. Now I've given away anything that does not fit into my colours (I am an Autumn) and only buy in my colour range. Whatever I pull out of my wardrobe coordinates with everything else. I have saved a lot of money on poor choices and feel more confident when I step out. Carmen from Leura 

Lee from VIC commented:

Hey you can't take it with you and the kids won't be too happy sorting through and divvying up who gets what. Give what to who you want NOW whatever is left can go to charity 

Alan from SA commented:

when you are approaching 70 good years of experience (that's age), and you have collected a life time of goods and chattels etc, and normal household stuff (including treasured wedding gifts), and now's the time to down size from your 4 bedroom family home, just how do you decide to get rid of stuff. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. My wife thinks I'm a hoarder. Cheers, Alan 

Anonymous from VIC commented:

We lost everything in the Black Saturday Bushfires - except the items on our list of special things to take. We replaced things only on a "need to buy" basis. The money we had left over from the insurance has funded our overseas travel! 

VIVIENNE from VIC commented:

The more time goes by the more I realise that "stuff" is the problem! I have stopped reading email spam with sales. I do not need more stuff. I am making it a challenge to fill a bag with good usable items each month and donate it to a thrift shop. I am also committing to throwing out items that are past it without replacing them. Underwear is a great one. I used to be able to go 3 weeks without washing and never run out of underwear! Now I could probably go 2 weeks so still no need to buy more. I mean who does not do the washing for 2 weeks! Linen I am still downsizing from when the children were at home. I have sent some away but think I am still holding too much. Dishes pots and pans. I "lost" some as the kids moved out of home and took some to get started. I never missed it. I have only been in our downsized home 3 years but already I know there is a shelf of kitchen stuff that has not been used here even once, so that will be the next to go. I am using up bathroom items as well and look forward to neater, easier to keep clean and organised cupboards as I eventually only have 1 of everything I need and none of things I don't need. I am trying to get organised/motivated to re-home some of the antique furniture items and crystal chandelier that has now lived in a box for 3 years. The space that will free up in my spare room will mean I can have a lovely welcoming, clutter-free space for visitors. It is amazingly liberating to live with less, and best of all there is less cleaning and tidying to do! 

Colleen from NSW commented:

I discovered this also when a delayed divorce settlement meant I had to stay in a 1 bedroom, tiny old house for six weeks with my girls aged 4 & 6 (one of those places where the kitchen is along the back wall of the lounge room. We had a few changes of clothes, 1 frypan, 1 large pot, most of the basics listed above, a towel each, a set of linen for each bed and a few changes of clothing. Everything else was in storage and we managed fine. I would like to say I learned from this and became minimalist then but instead I found I've filled my house with stuff over the past 18 years, particularly when I started working again 9 years ago after being out of the work force for 16 years. It's funny how we feel we need to "compensate " for not being home with things and also how we feel because we now have more money we deserve more stuff. I have also spent a lot on travel, which I actually value more than any of my stuff, but recently, being stuck at home with poor health have realised how much money I've wasted filling my house with things I don't need, don't really want, and sooo many I didn't even remember I had. Have started decluttering and it is really liberating to have room to breathe and know where things are. Also feels good to know that some of my excess is making someone less fortunate happy. 

Karen from NSW commented:

I have been on a mission downsizing since my mother died in 2007. I don't want my daughter to have to get rid of 30yrs of crap like I did. I no longer have any crap. Every single holiday I get rid of more. It's now a passion. It's cathartic. Worse thing is the teaching resources. I've thrown 50%, this coming year would like to reduce by another 25%. Last year when a big hail storm trashed part of my home I repainted after the repairs and sold 12 big paintings. My place looks bigger. I don't miss any. I've just sold a few antiques on gumtree that I've had packed for 10yrs because they didn't suit this house. Now someone else us enjoying them. Last year I sold some dolls on EBay to enthusiasts. Now they are enjoying them. That makes me really happy. Clothes and shoes , I do one new thing in, one thing has to go out. I have a small built in. Works for me. I could do the downsizing for a job! Love it. 

Karen from NSW replied to Karen:

It's actually Ros from NSW. 

Anonymous from WA replied to Karen:

I think that we need someone to help us do it quicker than we are doing it, I am struggling but I am doing it and every week something goes to my niece or the op shop. My niece has just taken another 3 black bags of clothes towels sheets and pillow cases as every time I buy sheets always 2 same as comforters as I only use one. I looked at my glasses I think some have not been used for 5 years. 

Anonymous from QLD commented:

Over the past six months I have been sorting out items no longer in use or needed. I keep a big box on the patio and as I come across an item I do not want any longer I put it in the box. When it's full I take it to the charity shop. Clothing is much the same but the better items I give to a friend who shares them with a group of her daughters friends. I really believe in recycling so I am happy to share the no longer required items with anyone who needs them. As you said, the room that is recovered to enjoy is just so freeing and with less to look after more time to enjoy other persuits. 

Anonymous from WA commented:

Lyn From Country W.A. I find that since I have lived on my own for over 10 years and no children at home that I could buy without having anyone nagging me. When I was moving I gave away to my niece cooking containers and storage containers, but my clothes I find very hard to give away unless too small as I never had many when I was young. I used to buy knickers all the time until one day my draw I could not shut and had to stop myself same as clothes and a lot of older people have the same as me with not having much growing up. I have started getting rid of my old shabby clothes and using for rags, but my kitchen draws need clearing out as you say we have so much in them and we have not used in years as I do not do the cooking as not the same for one person. But it is hard for a lot of us to do it as some people. 

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