Less is More

                                                    Photo by Ben Oh. Flickr Creative Commons

I have always been a neat freak I knew that I preferred to live in a tidy space, but it wasn't until after my divorce a couple of years ago that I have learned that, for me, less is more.

When I moved into my cute little 1962 ranch house in 2011, I brought only a few pieces of furniture from my old dwelling: a chest of drawers my step-mother had given me that I had refinished myself, my hope chest from my high school graduation, a handmade bookshelf from my parents, and my beloved elfa shelving and desk for my home office.  I knew that these core pieces would serve me well for storage.   I also brought with me my beautiful antique radio and my favorite pieces of art.

From there, I decided to be very particular about the rest of the things that came to live in my home.  Practicing what I preach to my organizing clients, anything I bought or was given had to fit well in the space and be either something I used or loved.  I also made it a point to buy very little brand new items.  For one thing, I have a taste for mid-century modern furniture like the kind you might see on the set of "Mad Men".  This stream-lined style fits well with my desire to minimize visual clutter.  Also, I love the idea of giving a second or third life to things.  So, besides new linens and some kitchenware, most everything else came from consignment and antique stores at a fraction of the cost of buying retail.

And I continue to be vigilant about minimizing how much stuff comes into my life and my home.  I do this because I have a strong sense of calm when I am surrounded only by what I need, use, and love.  And as an added benefit, this more simple and practical lifestyle has allowed me to save tons of money.  Before I add a thing, I think about where it will live in my home.  If there is no room for an item without cluttering or cramping the space, I will often get rid of something else either by reselling, donating, or trashing it. 

Through this life of voluntary simplicity, I have come to value the zen calm that flat, open spaces bring.  I appreciate the flow of energy and creativity that is allowed to occur when my closets, drawers, countertops, and shelves aren't filled to capacity.  I have also found that I am more grateful for what I do haveBy purposefully minimizing my possessions, I believe I have left room to attract more positives into my life. And the good just keeps pouring in.