More is Better, Right?

More is better, right? More food, more clothes, more room, more money.

It seems our society is driven by the word “more”. Commercials tell us what “more” we need to have and the products that will help us get “more”. Even if it isn’t a product.

Want more excitement in your life? Buy this. More friends? Buy that. More for your money? Use this service. More beautiful of a vacation? Go here. More luxury? We have it. More service? That’s us. Dissatisfied with your clothes/furniture/kitchen? You just need more things!
Our grocery stores are packed with isles of more. New products come out each day and we need more. There are so many stores to purchase clothing from, with more are added each day. There are more stores period. When I compare the choice of stores we have today, including online shopping, to what was available when I was a child, it is staggering.

Psychologically, we want more. We want more things, more options, more choices. Some people feel if they don’t have all these choices, they are being denied or restricted. We are not happy with less. Why should you be when you can have more? In fact, you are looked down upon if you want less. So we go for more things, and expect more choices which both cause stress and anxiety.

As I am working through another round of decluttering, I am re-learning the value of less. It has been about two years since our first major round of reducing the objects in our home. I was amazed by the feeling of space, peace and contentment we felt afterwards.

Getting rid of the more, also helps you focus on the “less” that you do have, appreciating it and valuing it. Just like the field of daisies above, more looks nice, but when you focus on just one, it looks even prettier. You see the details. You value the work of nature. You find peace in that one flower.

I am also realizing the cost of the word more. Yes, there is definitely a monetary cost. Almost every item you buy costs money. Even those things that are free, tend to cost you some time and definitely cost you some space. Having more things can also cost you mentally. The psychological weight of these items can wear on you over time.

Here are some of the ways I have been valuing less lately.

Instead of more clothes, I have less. The pieces I have left are those that I truly like. They fit me fairly well, look good on me and are comfortable. My closet looks bare to some, but to me it looks easy. Easy to find something. Easy to pick out something to wear. There is still enough that I don’t appear to be wearing the same clothes each day, and there is a little variety so I don’t feel as if I am wearing the same clothes each day.

A major decluttering of my jewelry box has also left me with the pieces I value most. In the past, I liked all of my jewelry, and worked hard to find an outfit/jewelry combination to wear for each piece. This actually was a lot of work, and really, did I feel any better because of all the different pieces? Not really. Now I have just a few pieces I wear every day. They match with everything. It’s easy to select something to wear, and easy to mix and match. I still have a few choices, and they are fairly easy to make.

Seeing the physical space in my closet and jewelry box makes me feel good. The space is freeing and allows my head to have space as well. Our heads can be so crowded sometimes that we feel stressed and overwhelmed.

There is one “more” in your life that is a good thing to have more of. It isn’t a physical thing that you can hold in your hand, but is a physical thing in the terms of your body’s response. Time. There isn’t anyone who wishes they had less time, they want more right? To gain more time, we need to have less. Less things as described above, and less to do.

Instead of scheduling more events with friends, I either let them happen naturally, or I don’t schedule anything at all. Coming home from work knowing there is nothing on the calendar is a great feeling. The ability to just float from one thing to the next as my mind and body dictate is incredibly calming.

The gym membership is gone. I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to start working on strength building and fitness. Instead, I had to worry about getting there. If I was going to be late from work, that nixed the 4pm time slot. After that, the parking lot was full and all the exercise bikes were taken. After dinner? That meant going out in the dark, sometimes in bad weather. Oh, and let’s talk about the options in regards to all the different machines there. This is one of their selling points, but to me it was too overwhelming. I didn’t know what to choose from and doing a lot of them didn’t help me.

Instead, I have returned to less. I have a yoga mat and dumbbells. That’s it. I can do strengthening and stretching. I focus on just a few key exercises and that seems to be way more effective for me than doing a large variety of them. In fact, my exercise book with the 100 pages of 75 different exercises might be on the list to go. There is just too many to choose from, and doing them all didn’t make much of a difference.

Less. Yes, less. Less is better than more if you want to save money, reduce stress, improve your life, gain peace and clarity. I could go through each room in my house and tell you why less is better than more. In fact, I could also go on about how a smaller house is better than a bigger one. The gains I listed with reducing my clothes, jewelry and schedule should hopefully start getting you thinking about what you can do to try out “less is better than more.” Let me know what you tried!