Have you ever read the back of a chip bag and seen what constitute a single serving? I have, and I have usually eaten more than that amount. Think about your closet. If it was larger, would you own more clothes? Would you take the opportunity to live in a smaller house if it afforded you the luxury of living debt-free? What if someone offered you a larger vehicle, would you take it, for the size alone?
As Americans, I think we believe that more IS more, better, desirable. More food. More belongings. More money. More land. More shoes. More "likes." MORE.
I'd like you to consider MORE for just a minute.
Last summer, I took a very long overdue girls' trip to an island off the Yucatan Peninsula. I would be gone for well over a week, and challenged myself to travel with one carry-on. Everything I packed for this trip needed to fit in a one backpack. I had one thing going for me...I didn't need clothes for a wide range of temperatures. At that time of year, we were looking at temperatures between 75-95, even at night. Aside from that, with no guarantee of laundry services, I wanted to travel lean. This had it's advantages, to be sure...a savings in travel fees, less to keep track of, but most importantly, what I hoped to learn by traveling with LESS. We really need so very little to survive, and even thrive. I had the basic necessities. There wasn't a single thing I needed to purchase (with the exception of food and beverages), to make that trip a wonderful experience. I didn't suffer. I didn't feel lacking. It might help to understand that this was an adventure trip, and there was really no need for fancy clothes (although I brought one nice outfit...and brought it back home, unworn!), but aside from that, it was a lesson in how experiences and being present are far more important than anything I could have brought with me.
I have seen firsthand what having a larger home has done for some people. More room? More stuff! Does that mean the excess is necessary? Does it improve one's quality of life? I'm not suggesting that everyone should live a minimalist lifestyle. I enjoy creature comforts as much as the next person, but when it comes to quality of life, MORE doesn't always mean MORE, does it?
I think practicing LESS can bring you into a better position to value what you have, and helps with feelings of gratitude. When we are grateful for LESS, we are winnowing down our focus to the most important, vital things. Health, for example. Love, kindness, basic necessities. The rest is fluff. Unnecessary. Maybe even frivolous? Is LESS actually MORE?
You might wonder how this all ties into my job is an organizer? In huge ways! MORE is harder to organize. MORE needs space, time, and energy. Some people have that. Some don't. I have friends who have MORE; it is well managed and organized, and doesn't cause a problem for them. Some people panic with LESS. It makes them feel insecure or vulnerable. Being surrounded by MORE gives them security. Have you ever watched the show Hoarders on A&E? It is a case study of MORE. In every single episode, hoarding is a result of emotional, sometimes psychological, issues. There are very talented organizers working with individuals to get their homes more livable, but you will also see a trained psychologist working with the emotional needs of the individual. One of the things that doctor does is explore the value and importance of the items (the "hoard") with the patient, and if the excess, the MORE, is really working for them. How do we find JUST RIGHT?
I don't claim to be a psychologist, or a therapist. I am not trained or educated as one. I do know that often, organization of belongings is only part of the big picture. I'm also not suggesting that people who have a lot of possession are all hoarders, or in need of help. It is when MORE is a cover for other, particularly emotional, issues that there can be a problem. The trick is helping someone find JUST RIGHT.
Maybe this week, consider what MORE and LESS means to you, and how it might affect how you live with your belongings. It might help you clear some clutter, donate a few things, find meaning in a precious hand-made object.
Still need help finding your JUST RIGHT? Give me a call.