Happy Monday! On this end of the world it is about bedtime on Monday and the week is full steam ahead. It was a fantastic weekend with some great friends. Lots of laughter, food, wine and more laughter.
Let's just get one thing straight. We believe that we must combat the excess in our lives not simply for combating excess; but for freeing ourselves for more important things. In other words, we get rid of the excess so that we may have more. More of what?
More of life... love... family... quite times for contemplation...intimate moments... laughter... tears... times of joy...(you get the idea).
It sounds like a paradox and you could call us crazy, but we firmly believe that the less that you have the more you can have.
Let's start with today's topic... Material things. (It's so hard to give insight on a problem when you know you suffer with it right? Let's try anyways...) We mentioned earlier that for most of us there is certainly an excess of material stuff in our lives. The sad thing is that these multiple things are not even good quality things. Is it possible that nowadays people are just obsessed with having a gigantic assortment of poor quality things?
It seems that instead of having 1 really good product that will last a long time, we would rather have a bunch of mediocre products that last a fraction as long.
We need to simplify the way we buy and own things.
1) Don't be Swayed by the Trends - Trends are exactly what they are... trends. They are fine now, but next year you will most likely look a bit off when you still have it. Go for classic styles and products.
3) Buy for Quality and Longevity - This is SUPER important. One of the things I like to ask myself when I am buying something these days is "Could I still use this 10 years from now?" Examine the quality. Ask about the product. Compare the product with other products. See if there is a warranty and ask if you can hit it with a baseball bat (just kidding). But seriously, if get the best quality in the end you will be saving tons of money, because you won't be replacing it as often.
4) Get Rid of the Old when You Bring in the New (or Just Get Rid of the Old) - Cay and I need to follow through on this. Whenever we buy something new, we should recycle something we already have. After all that's why you bought something new right? Because the old thing no longer served it's purpose. When you buy yourself a new hat, bring some of your old ones to the local Salvation Army or charities. Moreover... if you have are one of those that have tons of things, I suggest you immediately implement the one year practice: If you haven't used it in a year, then toss it (give it to someone else - charity, ebay, relatives, enemies, whatever.)
5) Try to Support Your Local Artisans and Suppliers - I love finding products that are made in the geographical area of where I am living. Plus, you are supporting the local economy; and a lot of the local artisans and craftspeople make things better than some mass producing machine. Sure it will cost you a bit more, but I the payoff is worth it when you know you have a good product that was made by someone's bear hands. (p.s. Local artisans are also more likely to repair your product if you need them to)
6) Be Minimal - One thing that I am trying to do right now is get all my belongings into one closet, and I am getting closer everyday. Why? Because I am tired of having stuff scattered all over the house. The house just seems more spacious and free when you have less things occupying it. There is something beautiful about sitting in front of a beautiful empty wooden table in the morning. I believe that being minimal with belongings gives you more room to move and think and just... be. When you have less you have more.
7) TAKE CARE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU HAVE - Now that you have the thing. Take care of it. Put it in a proper place and keep it in good condition so that you will not ruin it. Clean out your coffee machine and put shoe trees in your quality shoes. When you take care of the things that you have it lengthens the life of the product.
8) Be a Good Example to Your Family - Remember that children do what the parents do (so I've heard). What kind of example do you want to set for your kids? Sit down and talk with them about the importance of being prudent with things and how to take care of them.
9) If You Can't Afford it then You Don't Need it - Pure and simple. This will surely get the excess out of your life. I cut up my credit cards 2 years ago and have paid everything with cash since then. It has been challenging when it comes to buying things like plane tickets, but I have never felt more free than I do now. We do not buy anything that we cannot pay and cash, and if we can't afford it now, then we SAVE till we can.
10) You Own Things, not the Other Way Around - Ponder this statement.
More to come...
Vince and Cay