Less is More

Less is More

My journey of reduction has taught me that the saying “less is more” is really true. I never believed it or even really understood it before. If something is good, then isn’t more better? Well, no.

When it comes to stuff, I know, I am kind of like a broken record about this, but the elimination of a lot of the clutter around me has made such a huge difference. A houseful of carefully chosen items placed with love is more lovely than a house full of too many of anything. Not only is less more tasteful, but it means less stuff to move t around to clean, less stuff to pay for. And by having less, I feel like I have more. I have more room to breathe, more money, more space in my life for stuff that matters but that you can’t hold.

I truly believe that despite the messages we’ve all had drilled into our brains forever that money can buy happiness, it really doesn’t. I know money can buy things that make us comfortable, money can provide food, shelter and security. And all of those things can make us happier. But in the sense that if a person is unhappy and thinks a higher paycheck is going to fix it, perhaps there are other things they can look at first. What about more money would make you happy? That you can buy more stuff? Or that you can feel secure and make a brighter future for yourself? There is a difference. Most of all, this is how I think less is more when it comes to money: Less spending today means more in my pocket for tomorrow.

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  1. Dave Fowler says:

    Hi Emily,

    I’ve come to realise the value in having less. We have only one wage coming into the house now and yet we still manage to get by. The bonus is, that life is better in so many ways than before.

    We’ve reduced our clutter significantly but we’ve still got a long way to go.

    Less is more. It’s a great message.

    I’m curious to know whether there are any items you got rid of, which you now miss having around? (if that’s not too intrusive to ask?)

    I’ve only just found your site and I’m looking forward to reading more.

    All the best.


  2. @Dave, thanks for stopping by, I am glad you’re here! I can’t think of anything that I have gotten rid of that I miss. When I am minimizing and donating or selling stuff, I try to think of it in terms of moving. If we were to move today, would this be worth the time it takes to pack it, the cost it takes to store it and then the time it takes to unpack it again? If the answer is yes, it stays. Otherwise, it’s gone.

    rob Reply:

    One benefit of the internet is that I can comment on a posting from 2+ years ago.

    I got angry at the drivel that was on TV in April, canceled the cable & sold the TV and started getting rid of other crap somewhat by accident.

    The curious thing is that I’ve (literally) given away boxes of books, donated 30 years worth of souvenirs and kick-knacks along with tons of other crap (clothes from the 70s, 80s, 90s..) and I don’t miss a single thing. But I *do* love the new space in my house and the reduced effort involved in cleaning and organizing.

    After a short break it’s time to take the next pass through and start getting rid of the less obvious (or hidden) useless stuff. Like the infrequently used drawer filled with old paper maps of cities that will be totally different the next time I visit…

  3. Good thoughts. Blogs such as yours, which have inspired me to simplify my home and get rid of the things I don’t use or need or even want have given me the gift of an apartment I can clean in one hour (with no pre-cleaning angst, seeing as it’s going to be DONE in an hour, not a DAY). Having less means that you can spend more of your life living, not taking care of all your stuff. In the words of The Philosopher (Marx) :”The less you eat, drink, buy books, go to the theatre, go dancing, go drinking, think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save and the greater will become that treasure which neither moths nor maggots can consume — your capital. The less you are, the less you give expression to your life, the more you have, the greater is your alienated life and the more you store up of your estranged life. ”

  4. @ Denise, yes experiences are worth far more than things anyday.

    @ Writer Dad, I agree – there are certainly things that less is more doesn’t apply to. Like time, love, family experiences. Seems to come down to those things you can’t buy are the things that when you get down to it are what people seek, but often in the wrong places. It is true that money can buy the availability of those things, but can also hinder them if used in the wrong ways. A person slaving at the day to day grind to make money to keep afloat is missing out on family time, love, laughter, etc…for money. By having less, needing less, time somehow falls into your lap.

    @neimanmarxist – Great quote! And yes, the freedom of knowing you can clean quickly makes it much less agonizing when facing the task!

  5. @Frugal Trenches – ME NEITHER!!

    @Julie – Thank you for the thoughts you’ve added to the discussion. I appreciate every one else’s experiences. You are right debt is not fun. I’ve been there. I appreciate the thank you for the things I write being helpful. I write to motivate myself and remind myself why the life I have now is one to be appreciated and to keep from ever going back to what I was before. I am glad my own motivating writing does so for others as well.

  6. While in art school I used Ludwig Meis van der Rohe’s phrase of “less is more” daily. Actually, I still use it daily (ask my kids). In all aspects of life “less is more”. Just today, I began cleaning the kitchen. I spent a lot of time on the windows. I tossed the window treatments made from branches of lemon leaves. They were beautiful, but I was tired of them. Also, they were a dusty mess. I just need a major purge at this moment in my life. I think reading everyone’s blogs motivates me to actually get stuff done.

  7. Amen sister! I can’t speak the praises enough about having a decluttered home. So much less stress and more peace.

    Stumbled, and I’ll be linking to you in an upcoming post. :)

  8. Mike in Arizona says:

    A great book is “It’s all too much” by Peter Walsh (TLC’s Clean Sweep, Oprah, etc). His basic premise is to free yourself of the clutter and that if you have things that are heirlooms or precious they should be displayed and honored; and not buried with junk.

  9. @ Alison – I love when my commentors can sum up perfectly in just a few lines what takes me all day to write in my babbling way. I love the cookie analogy!


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