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Old 03-12-2013, 06:51 AM   #21
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I think there are a lot of people who are compulsive (or close) shoppers like this guy was for a while. That has never been a problem for me or DW - we both hate shopping and focus our buying on things we have a specific use for. But clutter is a problem. Stuff we needed years ago gets stored somewhere or another and builds up. It is hard to get rid of it. We have a weekend house with accumulated stuff in it including a garage full of windsurfers, skis etc. These were valued purchases that saw lots of use but are entering their senescence when they become clutter. I dread disposing all of that stuff out when we sell the joint.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:30 AM   #22
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I didn't find the article condescending. To my mind, he was simply relating his experiences and sharing his point of view. I thought this particular thought to be very true,

"But my experiences show that after a certain point, material objects have a tendency to crowd out the emotional needs they are meant to support."

My stuff works best when it works for me and helps me live the way I want. The trick, IMO, is to achieve that sweet spot where all my stuff "works", and there's not much of it lying around idle. It's a work in progress.
This, too, is my aspiration. Keeping the stuff we "might" use is part of the problem. I've been working on decluttering a lot lately, and it feels very good to keep only the stuff I really need.

What I liked from the article is the quote about the stress levels of people when dealing with their belongings. I can see that in a big way.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:45 AM   #23
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+2 Articles like this strike me as so condescending. Who is this guy to tell me how many dishes or CDs is the 'right' amount? Am I some little baby who can't decide that for myself?

Ten little dishes? Fine for this guy I guess, but we entertain groups from time to time, sometime large sometimes just one other couple. DW likes to have dishes for different seasons and different occasions. It's a 'luxury we can afford', so who cares?

And he doesn't have a single CD? So? He probably doesn't have a high quality stereo either. Maybe he doesn't love music? I love music, why would I deprive myself?

Why would anyone aspire to this? If the message is 'consider what is really of value to you', I think the author fails.
Where does the author attempt to tell you what to do? Do you think his point was to tell us how many dishes is the right amount?

He simply shares his journey and experience, some will relate (and aspire in varying degrees) to it, others will not. How you react to the authors POV is yours to decide.

Is it "condescending" to ask "why would anyone aspire to this" after several members have said they share the authors POV?
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:50 AM   #24
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After decluttering my parent's house, I took a good look at myself. I have too much stuff. But just a little too much. I still need some stuff. It has all been mentioned above... and I think the term moderation is good. I just need to back off a bit.

Now, about that travel. Where I get cranky with authors like this is their consumption of travel. That's stuff of a different kind, especially when he wants to start talking global warming. He feels good about the carbon credits, but I'm not so sure they work. To really live the de-stuffed life he talks of, he should take a hike and meet more people in his home base of living. Hey, at least he admits he has a travel problem.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:17 AM   #25
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Now, about that travel. Where I get cranky with authors like this is their consumption of travel. That's stuff of a different kind, especially when he wants to start talking global warming. He feels good about the carbon credits, but I'm not so sure they work. To really live the de-stuffed life he talks of, he should take a hike and meet more people in his home base of living. Hey, at least he admits he has a travel problem.
Hello, my name is Sarah, and I have a travel problem. And a great big honking carbon footprint! And I'm okay with that, myself.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:23 AM   #26
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Trying to de-clutter and first off trying to do something about years of magazines I have accumulated : New Yorkers, vanity Fairs etc. Looking at them, I am amazed at how many back issues I have and how I had plans to read them and never had the time when I was working. I also think printed editions of magazines are wasteful of space, load, resources such as papers they are printed on. I am glad for the evolution into digital magazines.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:55 AM   #27
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+2 Articles like this strike me as so condescending. Who is this guy to tell me how many dishes or CDs is the 'right' amount? Am I some little baby who can't decide that for myself?

Ten little dishes? Fine for this guy I guess, but we entertain groups from time to time, sometime large sometimes just one other couple. DW likes to have dishes for different seasons and different occasions. It's a 'luxury we can afford', so who cares?

And he doesn't have a single CD? So? He probably doesn't have a high quality stereo either. Maybe he doesn't love music? I love music, why would I deprive myself?

Why would anyone aspire to this? If the message is 'consider what is really of value to you', I think the author fails.

Right, this is just column filler, IMO. I'm amazed that people see any value in this sort of thing. Can't they think for themselves? I just don't get it.

edit/add: OK, I just had to LOL at this: Hah! I have NEVER (and I'm the guy who always says never say never), ever seen a five-disc CD player in a true 'audiophile' magazine. These guys are ALL about single function, and do that function well units. Even to the extent of mono-block amplifiers (completely separate units for right/left channels - less cross-talk, no draw on a power supply from opposing channels). A lot of that stuff is snake-oil, but a 5-disc changer - no way!

-ERD50
I am sorry but I think that some might be misinterpreting the author's intention. I think the point of the article is that real joy and purpose can be achieved with limited consumption and living on less. I happen to think that if that lesson can be absorbed by more in society not only will it be a boon to our pocket books but makes for a more sustainable world. Even with all the material success in modern American society, I am not sure that people are better off today. Success certainly seems to bring it's own level of problems and unhappiness. There is something to be mourned for a society in which children can no longer free play with their friends whenever they feel like it because parents are all working and can't accomodate and everyone is afraid of the boogey man. There's so much success, that people have now retreated unto themselves behind their mini mansion and have lost the art of casual conversation and social interaction. People no longer know who lives around them.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:03 AM   #28
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Ok, so this guy made a small fortune as an Internet entrepreneur but hired a guy who took Polaroids for him to look at??

I do like his point, but it's a lot more romantic to live "with lot less" when you've got a coupla Mil in the bank. There are those who have no choice but to live that way...it's not so cool for them.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:06 AM   #29
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This take-down of the original bit of narcissism is much more wortwhile than the original, IMHO:

It Would Be Great if Millionaires Would Not Lecture Us on 'Living With Less'
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:18 AM   #30
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Where does the author attempt to tell you what to do? Do you think his point was to tell us how many dishes is the right amount?

He simply shares his journey and experience, some will relate (and aspire in varying degrees) to it, others will not. How you react to the authors POV is yours to decide.

Is it "condescending" to ask "why would anyone aspire to this" after several members have said they share the authors POV?
I think it was (heavily) implied.

Quote:
There isn’t any indication that any of these things makes anyone any happier; in fact it seems the reverse may be true.
So isn't he telling me I would be happier with less? And then he lectures on the 'carbon footprint'. I may have more 'stuff' than him, but I bet I travel less, might even use less utilities (even in a larger house), and I fix stuff and keep it for a long, long time. That turned me off.

Other's can share his POV, that's not a problem. In fact, I somewhat share his POV, but I think it's common sense, not something I need to be shown (why would I own stuff I don't truly value?). I don't like the lecturing, or the implications.

Quote:
My space is small. My life is big.
To me, this implies that if your space is big, your life is small. Bug off, to each his own, I say. If he had said, "I chose a small space and it works well for me, this is my experience, and it is something for you to think about", I'd be fine with that. I like to read of different people's approaches to life. But I read a heavy handed implication that his way is the 'right way'.

Is my reading unfair to the author? Perhaps, but that is the taste it left in my mouth.

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Old 03-12-2013, 10:30 AM   #31
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The only part of the article that bothered me is this part: (if true)

""The Natural Resources Defense Council reports, for example, that 40 percent of the food Americans buy finds its way into the trash.""

If true, that is to disgusting for words.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:36 AM   #32
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I didn't feel that he was telling other people how to live. He was just describing his life and what works for him.

His story has been very inspiring on the simple living forum. It is the forum based on the Your Money or Your Life book.

I don't know the number of people in the U.S. interested in simple living, but we have Real Simple magazine, the long lasting popularity of the Money or Your Life book, the faircompanies videos, the Mr. Money Mustache, extreme early retirement and permies forums, lots of urban homesteading blogs, and much more. I don't think all of those readers, viewers and forum members are manic depressives. They just want less stuff in favor of more freedom, financial security and greener living.

If you watch House Hunters International, they often refer to larger houses or appliances "American style". What is normal in the U.S. today in terms of house size and shopping isn't how many people in the world live, and it isn't how people lived in the U.S. in the '50s and before.

Most people in the U.S. don't have six figure household incomes like many posters here. If they ever want to retire early the only way they can do it is by simple living.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:42 AM   #33
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I find this quote interesting...

"Aside from my travel habit — which I try to keep in check by minimizing trips, combining trips and purchasing carbon offsets — I feel better that my carbon footprint is significantly smaller than in my previous supersized life. "



I always wonder about the tree huggers who think that buying carbon offsets actually make things better.... IOW, if you are consuming carbon, you are consuming carbon.... paying someone else to comsume less carbon does not help.... they might have consumed less anyhow and you feel good even though you are a polluter...
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:52 AM   #34
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I spent several semesters teaching abroad, and brought only 1 large suitcase with pretty much everything I needed for 6 months in it. Although I live pretty simply anyhow, I found it enormously liberating to have just one small closet and one drawers of clothes and possessions. I didn't find myself lacking for anything and gained an enormous amount of time. I was also without a TV and did not miss it. Here in MN I moved to a condo a few year's ago and while it is plenty big for one person (1400 sq ft) the storage space is minimal. I very much like the fact that I have so little storage. No storage = no accumulated "stuff." Less stuff = less maintenence and more time. It is really not rocket science to figure that out.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:53 AM   #35
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After decluttering my parent's house, I took a good look at myself. I have too much stuff. But just a little too much. I still need some stuff. It has all been mentioned above... and I think the term moderation is good. I just need to back off a bit.
We are having that experience too, after selling FIL's house. He didn't have much stuff, almost Spartan, but even we were surprised at the volume. And it is making us taking a new look at us and our stuff.

That said, preferences are all over the map, just as people are and one size does not fit all.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:01 AM   #36
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I also think this article is a self promotion of his new business...

He said he has designed the small living space he is in now and is going to try and sell everybody else on the same thing...

"Buy from me because I know better"..... is what I think he is saying...
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:05 AM   #37
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From the article
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Seventy-five percent of the families involved in the study couldn’t park their cars in their garages because they were too jammed with things.
I can vouch that this is true in my neighborhood of old-school 2 car garages. Very few of our neighbors park their cars in the garage. Because their garages are full of "stuff".

Typically your car is your second largest expense to purchase (behind your home). Yet we fill our garages full of stuff that would bring in a few hundred dollars at a garage sale, and park our cars outside to be subject to the elements.

My husband has made a point of us keeping both our cars in our garage. It takes work. Stuff accumulates. Bikes are hung off the ceiling and the walls. We have shelves on the perimeter to hold the stuff that needs to be kept under cover, but not in the house (paint, fertilizer, gardening tools, the push reel lawn mower.)

I would estimate there are only 3 or 4 houses on our street (of about 25 houses) that have both cars in the garage. Another 5-6 park one car in the garage. The rest have their cars outside the garage.

One of my first goals, upon ER, is to declutter... or my term "de-crapify" my house. Get rid of the college text books I've hung onto. Scan and shred the paper I've hung onto. Go through everything and purge.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:08 AM   #38
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Hello, my name is Sarah, and I have a travel problem. And a great big honking carbon footprint! And I'm okay with that, myself.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:36 AM   #39
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One of my first goals, upon ER, is to declutter... or my term "de-crapify" my house. Get rid of the college text books I've hung onto. Scan and shred the paper I've hung onto. Go through everything and purge.
I don't even know how many car loads of stuff we have sold, donated and recycled and haven't missed a single thing. The scary part is we aren't even half done. The cool part is that when we are done we will be able to slash our expenses and free up a lot of time by having a much smaller and easier to maintain house. And we can find things easier these days!

Another plus is that we've made a bit of extra cash, too, from the stuff we sold.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:54 AM   #40
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I also think this article is a self promotion of his new business...

He said he has designed the small living space he is in now and is going to try and sell everybody else on the same thing...

"Buy from me because I know better"..... is what I think he is saying...
I agree. It was a unpaid ad for his designer small living space business, courtesy of the NYT.
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