Myth: We need a lot of material things.
Reality: We can succeed and be happy with very little stuff.
When we productivity pros hear a few phrases we pay attention because you are giving clues to your mindset. Do you say a version of any of these things?
- I need another ______ (fill in the blank- pair of shoes, suit, house, car, computer, tech toy, etc.)
- It would be nice to pay off those credit cards!
- If we lived in a bigger house we’d be tidy because we’d have a place to put things.
- I spend all weekend cutting the grass, washing the car, and maintaining the house.
- Put the car in the garage – ha!
Here are some downsides to having too much stuff:
- You have to pay for it
- You have to insure it
- You have to maintain it
- You have to walk and work around it
- You have to store it
- You won’t have room for new stuff to come into your life
In a few chapters of my life I got rid of almost everything. I stopped my job and resigned from all my volunteer positions. We sold the house. We put half of everything in recycle or the dumpster. The rest of our stuff went into storage. And, I lived very happily for years! This was extreme but illustrates how little I needed. For example, I was in Europe for 4 months with:
- 1 backpack
- 1 pair of pants
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 skirt
- 3 shirts
- 1 sweater
- 1 jacket
- 1 pair of shoes (2 pr socks)
TJ is experiencing a similar revelation as he is getting divorced and living in a rented 2-bedroom townhouse. This weekend he said to me, “It’s amazing how little you really need. A couple of carloads of stuff and a dozen pieces of furniture and I am all set up here. I have the kids every other weekend and visitors now and then and really do have all I need. I got used to the 3 car garage and filled that with all kinds of things but I sure do fine without them.” TJ now has a one-car garage.
Linda’s revelation came when she moved to New York City (NYC). Her new place is 1/5th the size of her suburban home. Forced by space limitations Linda scaled to having what she needs and no more. Multiple pair of black shoes are now represented by just 2 pair – and that’s the only color she wears with her traditional corporate/banking wardrobe. Still, she’s content with her living quarters and the abundance of little neighborhood restaurants that she frequents rather than cook daily. And, she’s since moving to the coop, she’s added two little ones (kids) to the ‘limited’ space.
When circumstances push these real-life people to consider what they really need they have adjusted and lived rich lives with much less stuff. They also focus a lot more on the experiences in their life and are free from things that consume loads of money, time and energy.
- Productivity & Organizing Myth #8 – Getting Organized Takes Too Long
- Productivity & Organizing Myth #7 – A person’s office or home can get decluttered and organized in hours or weekend (or 30 minute t.v. show)
- Productivity & Organizing Myth #6 – I can find anything in my piles.
- Productivity & Organizing Myth #5 – the right planner (tool) is all you need
- Productivity & Organizing Myth #4 – Only Handle it Once
- Productivity & Organizing Myth #3 – I don’t have time to prioritize
- Productivity & Organizing Myth #2 – Can’t stop influx
- Productivity & Organizing Myth #1 – Born Organized
Susan Sabo is an intrepid traveler who has organized her life to be out of the country for months at a time. She’s visited South & Central America, Europe, Asia, ‘Down Under” and traveled across North America. Susan writes at www.productivitycafe.com, consults with professionals on improving their personal productivity and presents motivating productivity programs & tips (such as how to get ready for the busy season) to groups.