Less Is More

The coincident process to undergoing the great purge is the re-orientation of thoughts and expectation to the idea of doing more with less.

It seems the hallmark of our current economic situation that many people are going through the process of learing to do more with less. The excess and materialistic culture that seemed to prevail during the 90’s and first decade of this millennium seems now passé and undesirable. Admittedly, some of this change in attitude was not voluntary, but no matter the catalyst, the end result can be very harmonious. Not unlike the feeling of having eaten way too much for too long during the holidays, shedding the excessive consumption of the last years is freeing.

Recently I decided that after two and a half years of constant use, my glasses were boring and I needed a change. Normally,  I would have gone to the store, picked out new frames and ordered new glasses. But when I was cleaning out a drawer, I found a stash of past eyewear. They were pretty nice frames and, since my prescription hadn’t changed much, I simply chose a different pair. No fuss, no muss and I didn’t spend a bunch of money. When I get tired of these glasses, I can change to one of the other two pairs I have on hand.

It was kind of a big, sloppy habit to over-consume. Making careful choices about new purchases makes the purchase somehow even more satisfying. Realizing you can forego a purchase because you have something on hand will do is even more satisfying.

How long will this mindset of less is more survive the eventual return of more robust economic times? Does it change one’s expectations forever to go through an economic downturn as we are currently and to learn to do with less? It makes me think of my parents’ generation and all of those who lived through the Great Depression. I think they were forever impacted by the economic tribulations they faced. Will we find that one positive outcome of our current travails is a better, more responsible attitude to consumption? That could only have a positive impact on the environment and on our lives.

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One Comment to “Less Is More”

  1. I love the idea of simplifying and taking the focus off consumerism. Our children’s toys for example, are becoming more simple and fewer in kind – more blocks and lego, more tools – no electronics, very little plastic, that kind of thing. And we’ve found they’re better at entertaining themselves. As soon as the baby is a little more grown, I’m going through everything else in the house too!

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