post written by: Marc Chernoff
A Simple Living Guide to Buying “Stuff”
I’m an advocate of simple living, clutter free environments and resource conservation. I always choose quality of quantity, clean over complex, and sunlight over lamp light. When I’m alone in my house during the day, I typically turn off all the lights, open up the blinds and blog or read in the glow of the natural light shining through the windows.
In these moments of blissful relaxation all of the “stuff” I own means nothing. Everything I need, I have. This doesn’t mean the “stuff” I own is useless. I’m just aware of its true level of importance in the grander scheme of my existence. These moments act as my reminder.
Of course, I do buy “stuff”. And I don’t only buy things I need. On occasion I will buy something, not because I need it, but because I want it. Even for an advocate of simplicity, I don’t see any shame in buying “stuff” you like and want. So long as you make sound decisions on your purchases and avoid impulse buying, there is nothing wrong with a little splurging.
“Stuff” Cannot Create Change
However, you should never buy “stuff” in an attempt to mold yourself or your lifestyle (unless it’s a book). Likewise, you should never buy “stuff” to become accepted in any kind of social circle. It is impossible to change or improve yourself by buying physical “stuff”. Real change happens in the mind, the physical world simply follows suit.
My “Stuff”, a Reflection of Me
Although my house is fairly organized and not overcrowded, there is a noticeable amount of “stuff” on the walls, shelves, and countertops. My office has bookcases with books stacked from floor to ceiling and miscellaneous sculptures and trinkets I’ve collected over the years. My pool table room has several framed photographs and paintings on the walls and a few napkin holder sized bar signs on the counter tops. A similar pattern can be seen throughout the rest of the house.
I certainly don’t need this “stuff” for survival. I could live without it, and I’m mentally prepared to do so if necessary. But these items are not impulse purchases from the local shopping mall. Many of these items are a reflection of my past, such as items purchased during my travels, those representing my accomplishments, or photos from standout moments in my life. They are the byproducts of great memories. My memories do not rely on this “stuff”, but this stuff holds meaning because of these memories.
The “stuff’ in my house creates a sense of familiarity, and familiarity can be very relaxing. My “stuff” is a reflection of me, where I’ve been, and what I’ve done with my life. I never purchase “stuff” to feel a certain way. I purchase “stuff” because I already DO feel a certain way. Because of this, the items I own hold personal value, a value far greater than any monetary measurement.