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Living With Less. A Lot Less.
Old 03-11-2013, 06:30 PM   #1
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Living With Less. A Lot Less.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/op...less.html?_r=0

"We live in a world of surfeit stuff, of big-box stores and 24-hour online shopping opportunities. Members of every socioeconomic bracket can and do deluge themselves with products.

There isnít any indication that any of these things makes anyone any happier; in fact it seems the reverse may be true. "
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:25 PM   #2
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that is a great article! we have loads of albums and old books and boxes that have not been opened in 20 years in the garage we cant park in. and an office with a desk so cluttered with "stuff" that my keyboard is on my LAP. Those are our two collection places and just those two places alone are utterly depressing. Just cleand out our hall way closet this weekend, which was a nice start. this is a good reminder to continue.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:30 PM   #3
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We now spend money on experiences (travel, dining out etc), not much on tangible stuff anymore. Don't need any more junk in the house, although once in a while we like to replace old white goods, furniture and the old car, just because it's feels good to live in comfort. You can't take it with you !
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:31 PM   #4
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+1. I aspire to be more like the author, a work in progress...
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:49 PM   #5
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There isnít any indication that any of these things makes anyone any happier; in fact it seems the reverse may be true. "
I've been shopping for a kayak for the last few weeks. I find it hard to believe that it won't make me happier once I get it. But I can understand how some material things do not.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:57 PM   #6
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Great article. I long for the day when I can downsize....need to convince DW first, though....
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:00 PM   #7
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My car makes me happy, coz I use it to travel. My iPad makes me happy, coz I can surf the net, keep in touch with my mates and search for great recipes and holiday destinations. My TV makes me happy, coz I can curl up with a glass of red and watch a movie on a cold night. The list goes on. The article is unbalanced IMO
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:01 PM   #8
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I enjoy reading the NYT readers' comments too. Higher quality and thought provoking input than yahoo news readers, for sure.
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Originally Posted by MDJO View Post
Great article. I long for the day when I can downsize....need to convince DW first, though....
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:11 PM   #9
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I am finding more and more that material possessions are a curse and will try to start decluttering my life.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:12 PM   #10
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My car makes me happy, coz I use it to travel. My iPad makes me happy, coz I can surf the net, keep in touch with my mates and search for great recipes and holiday destinations. My TV makes me happy, coz I can curl up with a glass of red and watch a movie on a cold night. The list goes on. The article is unbalanced IMO
+1. If a person has any sense, he or she knows what enhances life and what is neutral and what detracts, and proceeds accordingly. To me, a lot of these blanket assertions about what one should do to be happier are similar to exhortations to get religion- some people temporarily derive energy from that kind of upheaval, and other people are on a more even keel.

But imagine yourself as a magazine or internet feature writer. What do you write about? Mr Joe satisfied who lives his life steadily without many big discontinuities, or Mr.Johnny Upheaval who likes to make BIG CHANGES?

Ha
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:27 PM   #11
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+1. If a person has any sense, he or she knows what enhances life and what is neutral and what detracts, and proceeds accordingly.
+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.


Quote:
But imagine yourself as a magazine or internet feature writer. What do you write about? Mr Joe satisfied who lives his life steadily without many big discontinuities, or Mr.Johnny Upheaval who likes to make BIG CHANGES?

Ha
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:
Quote:
and an audiophile-worthy five-disc CD player.
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
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:45 PM   #12
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I've been shopping for a kayak for the last few weeks. I find it hard to believe that it won't make me happier once I get it. But I can understand how some material things do not.
A kayak would be on my approved list, along with my bike. But a garage full of stuff we never use? That's what we are getting rid of. It feels very freeing for us. It is cheaper, too. Eventually we won't have to have a big house to buy, heat, cool, insure, clean, repair and pay property tax on.

We would rather spend our free time on hobbies and travel than taking care of stuff.
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:32 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:07 PM   #14
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I found the article interesting to the extent the author is a bit of a whacko who shifted his lifestyle from one extreme to the other. Interesting to hear about, but not something that an everyday guy like me could get interested in doing.

After the sale of his business and the resulting wealth, the author became an extreme consumer.

Quote:
I hired a guy named Seven, who said he had been Courtney Love’s assistant, to be my personal shopper. He went to furniture, appliance and electronics stores and took Polaroids of things he thought I might like to fill the house; I’d shuffle through the pictures and proceed on a virtual shopping spree.
Then he fell in love with a partner and decided to turn the wheel of the ship and now lives in an efficiency apartment concentrating on owning as little as possible. Doesn't even have a personal shopper to help him gather his bounty anymore!

OK, it's his life to lead. And I'm all for wealthy guys spending their time and money as they see fit as long as they're not stepping on the toes of others. But the story of his lifestyle extremes, while an interesting skim read, certainly isn't a likely scenario for many. I doubt I'll ever need a personal shopper to help haul home the goods and I also doubt I'll be living in a sparsely furnished and equiped urban efficiency apartment. Some of us like to live uncluttered and not be overwhelmed by "stuff" but still be able to offer a chair to a guest who stops by.

There's a lot of room between those two extremes.

Personal shopper....... Give me a break!
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:16 PM   #15
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I found the article interesting to the extent the author is a bit of a whacko who shifts his lifestyle from one extreme to the other.
+1
Definitely a looney tune.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:36 PM   #16
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I found the article interesting to the extent the author is a bit of a whacko who shifted his lifestyle from one extreme to the other. Interesting to hear about, but not something that an everyday guy like me could get interested in doing.
I was wondering if he might be cyclothymic, that is, have a manic depressive disorder.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:09 AM   #17
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I agree with a lot of what the author says.

I too could use some de-cluttering.

But I like my four solar watches
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:20 AM   #18
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I generally subscribe to the practice of most things in moderation, whether it is "stuff" or frugality, with a focus on putting emphasis on whatever provides the most value in one's life, and lesser emphasis on what does not.

I found a great description of this thought process well defined here:
What Voluntary Simplicity Is NOT

I'm not a fanatical follower of voluntary simplicity, but I do admire the sense of knowing one's self and living a life in accordance to one's own priorities.
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:11 AM   #19
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In a study published last year titled &ldquo;Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century,&rdquo; researchers at U.C.L.A. observed 32 middle-class Los Angeles families and found that all of the mothers&rsquo; stress hormones spiked during the time they spent dealing with their belongings. Seventy-five percent of the families involved in the study couldn&rsquo;t park their cars in their garages because they were too jammed with things.

The above quote from the article was very true for me while my family and I were all home together. My stress at home was due mainly to junk and clutter - constant moving all of that stuff, buying, sorting, resorting, cleaning, rearranging...garage sales...ugh!

I'm reading a book right now Going Solo by Eric Klinenberg about how the demographics are changing more towards solo living. I think this guy in the article fits into the younger generation's box of solo - high earning, city dweller that spends more time away from their home than in it but still needs space for alone time. They want their own space and they want to enjoy that space the way they want it, with no else to consider.

The book also talks about us old solo farts....widowed, divorced, never married...same thing. Most of us want solo living after our previous lives. Problems arise due to high expenses, especially in cities, old age, etc. The need for smaller living quarters like this guy's apartment is growing. We need to be in control of our own lives as much as we can when living by ourselves - young or old, rich or poor. Have your own space and live like YOU want without bothering anyone else, of course.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:41 AM   #20
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The article was interesting, but to me it came across as someone who goes on an alcoholic drinking binge, and then changes to the other extreme and drinks nothing but water.

I can agree that there is too much focus on obtaining "stuff", but moderation is the key. I really believe the bigger problem is looking at what others have and deciding you need the same, or better - the "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality.

DW and I each have areas where one might consider we have too much "stuff". For me it is computers, for her it is books. Both are driven somewhat because they relate to our jobs. But in may other areas we definitely don't need stuff.
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