Excess & the Stuff of Life

Posted on: Friday, April 16th, 2010
Posted in: Spendology, Blog | One comment

DSC_0384_2When schlepping more stuff into the house the other day, a brilliant idea hit me: 

How about a family project in which we try to acquire nothing new for one month. (Okay, except for food and wine.) 

I ran it by a few family members; the idea elicited eye-rolling, if that. 

Fine, I figured.  Simplicity is not so simple.  We can keep crowding ourselves in our cluttered habitat.  And such challenges will only help me with my Zen training, right?  Anyway, spring has sprung, so a guy can finally ditch the house and dig the outdoors. 

  • Self-imposed scarcity gets trendy

Little did I know that bloggers and books are rampant about the relentless pursuit of living with less.  Some of it is recession and spend/save related, though the political and spiritual motivations may carry more weight.

One couple subsisted with a food budget of a dollar a day, blogged about it, and made many dollars on the book deal they landed fast after the near-fast ended. 

A San Fran artist has given up autos—even riding in anyone else’s—and has 15 months under his belt.  Of course he, too, has a blog to share his saga

And up in Seattle, a diehard fashionista has sworn off buying new duds (other than underwear) for a year.  And has lived to tell the tale.

Of course, TIME magazine recently brought all these projects into the old-school media mainstream with a feature.

  • Back home, the stuff-fungus grows on

Wish we had a bigger house, but then we’d just fill that one with more stuff too.  Meantime, the last week alone brought (bought?) a ton of new baseball equipment for The Boy.  Dance uniforms (3) and American Girl gear for The Girl.  And several springy garments (albeit secondhand) for the wife.  (NOTHING left the house, save trash.) 

As for me?  Nothing new!  That’s some level of success, right?  After all, we learn over and over that we can only control our own actions.  And when it comes to stuff-coveting, self-control isn’t easy. 

Much of America is blessed with so, so much.  The question is:  When do blessings become burdens?

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One Response to “Excess & the Stuff of Life”

  1. Archelle Georgiou Says:

    Completely agree that a “time out” from buying “stuff” can be very liberating. While the nation’s economic woes over the last 1-2 years have been devastating for many, I wonder if there has been some benefit. As people were forced to consume less (because they couldn’t afford it) I wonder if it created an opportunity to focus on the immaterial aspects of life that are fulfilling yet so easy to ignore and take for granted: family, friends, laughter, creativity….

    Yes it would be better if there was not an economic downturn to make us stop and smell the roses. But, when we don’t do it ourselves, life has an interesting way of making us pay attention.


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