Less Stuff = More Happiness
“We have more stuff, but less time for the things that make us happy.” ~ Annie Leonard
As we prepare for the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, we should pause a moment to think…what do I want to give and get (if asked) this holiday season?
If you don’t want to be sitting around the kitchen table in March, bemoaning the holiday bills that haven’t been paid off or weeding through the pile of gifts that are unopened (and possibly never be used), then you need to take time now to plan. I know, I know, we organizers always talk about planning & lists. But there is something to be said for being prepared (just as a Girl or Boy Scout).
Before you head out to the stores at some awful time in the morning (or strain your clicker finger on Cyber Monday), think about the gifts you are considering purchasing and if they will truly make someone happy or the world a better place. Since the Industrial Revolution, we have been steadily moving away from being a society that produced only what it consumes, to a society that makes consumption a way of life. A trip to the mall is now considered a fun thing to do on the weekend. We continue to buy things we don’t need and can’t afford in the face of a stagnant economy and house full of stuff. But the tide is changing…
There are two main factors that are beginning to have an impact on consumerism and the stress it can cause. The first is the economy – with the current state many people are starting to realize that less is more. That life should be about relationships, not about stuff! The second is ecology – people are becoming more aware of the impact the life-cycle of a single product can have on our world. This is leading some to make more conscientious decisions about what they purchase and the long term effects it will have on the environment.
But let’s get realistic; every holiday celebration is going to require some sort of gift, so how do you make this year better than last? Cecile Andrews and Wands Urbanska, authors of “Less is More,” describe how to embrace simplicity as we head out to do our holiday shopping:
Clutter-Free – instead of just buying “something”, really give thought to what would be unexpected and truly appreciated – gift certificates for services such as house cleaning or spa services; memberships to museums; tickets to plays or events; enrollment to classes such as cooking, sewing or gardening; etc…
Charity – giving money to community non-profit organizations helps the entire community and will make you and your gift recipient feel good.
Spend less & save more – Make a commitment to not spend money on frivolous things but save it towards “unforgettable experiences.” For those closest to you, the money you would spend just to have a lot of gifts to open, might be better spent on one small item, knowing that the rest is being saved for a trip of a lifetime or a weekend get away.
More time – Less time shopping and getting caught up in the craziness that the holiday season can bring, means more time for quite, special moments that create memories that will never be forgotten.
Between the turkey and the mall, take a few minutes and really contemplate what the season means to you and how you want to experience and remember it. I think you will agree, in the end it is the people, not the stuff, that really matters!