Some people would say my life of living with less stuff has led me to be deprived of nice things.
For example, my car hits 200k miles this week. I’m super excited. It’s the first vehicle I’ve bought and kept alive that long without giving up on it. It’s “mama’s truck”. It’s a beast. I will drive it until it dies.
We took my car to the shop this week to get new brakes, amongst other things. Every time it goes to the shop, we have the same conversation… “When are you going to get a new vehicle?”
My husband even laughed and admitted to me this week he thought about buying me a new(er) vehicle and just bringing it home. (Side note: I do the budget, and he would NEVER do this…and live anyways. LOL)
I told him, I love my old car. Seriously, I love it. I have zero desire for a newer vehicle.
Sure, the CD player doesn’t work. Yeah, there’s some electrical problem that makes a weird shrilling sound for 15 seconds anytime you start it below 30 degrees. OK, so my clicker doesn’t work because of the same electrical problem, so I have to use the key to manually lock and unlock it.
I don’t care. I love this car.
This car is paid for. This car is large, and it keeps my babies safe. This car is comfortable.
I don’t stress out when my kids eat in the car and drop a few crumbs. I don’t freak out if someone scratches the side (well, I don’t freak out too much).
I don’t think twice about how my car compares to others.
When you start purposefully living with less stuff, your mindset shifts. There’s no reason to keep up with the Joneses with their brand new vehicles (and brand new car payments).
Quality, even when it is older, becomes comfortable.
If new cars are your thing, I’m not shaming you. It’s just never been my thing.
Living with less is my thing. (Apparently, I inherited my dad’s lack of caring about how my car looks.)
If you are new to living with less, here’s how to do it comfortably, without feeling deprived.
Living With Less Stuff…Comfortably
When you buy something, buy quality. Take care of it.
Buying quality will save you so much money over time, way more than that clearance item you didn’t realize you couldn’t live without until you saw it five seconds ago.
Buy the nice purse that will last you years.
Invest in the jacket that will wear longer than the super marked down, thin one.
Get quality furniture that won’t wear easily.
Save a few extra months to buy XYZ rather than settling for the less quality model.
They say you get what you pay for. I get it. I love a good deal as much as the next person. I also don’t always buy the highest quality item, as my budget simply won’t allow it.
However, when given the opportunity, always consider the quality and the lifespan of an item when buying. Buying cheap and buying often leads to clutter.
There’s always going to be someone with more. More money, a nicer car, a bigger house, a fancier school for their kids, a bigger yard, more “toys”, more expensive vacations… the list goes on.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
So get off social media, and start living your life the way you want to live it. Embrace your purposefully simple life, even if it is weird and different.
Let people make fun of your car.
Let people give you a hard time when you say “no” to the modern-day Tupperware party.
Be the person who wears the same dress every year to the same event.
Embrace your simple life. Your joys don’t come from things, at least not in the long term.
When we accumulate more stuff to keep up, the happiness factor we get from it is always short. It’s relationships, experiences, and memories that last a lifetime, not the stuff we try so hard to keep bringing into our homes.
Think before you buy
So often we bring on more expenses than we really need. Memberships, apps, luxury treats, convenience items, extra cable channels, etc.
I’m all about convenience, but at some point, you have what you need and the rest is excess (or clutter).
Take for example subscription boxes. I use this example because I see their lure. Seriously, I want to be that minimalist gal who secretly orders multiple subscription boxes every month. It’s an urge I fight all the time. I can’t explain it.
Subscription boxes are the epitome of meaningless expenses that lead to more clutter. It’s a surprise in a box… AKA a box of stuff you might want or need…or a box of crap. (Ask me how I know.)
Take pause before you buy. Why do you want the item you are considering buying?
For a surprise? Because of the clearance sticker? Because so-and-so has one?
I’m all about treating yourself but simply take pause.
Sometimes we forget all the blessings we have right in front of us. If we’re being honest, isn’t that what clutter really is? Excess blessings.
We have too many clothes or shoes. Blessing.
We have too many toys to step over. Blessing.
We have too many kitchen items. Blessing.
Practice gratefulness every day for items we often take for granted. As you practice being grateful, you start to desire less.
Embrace your creativity
When you make a decision to live on less, it often involves a bit of creativity.
You might have to buy multi-purpose tools, like a toaster oven that doubles as an air fryer and rotisserie.
You may figure out that one dress can be dressed up or down or layered through the colder months.
Instead of going out and buying something new, move things around. Maybe you move a piece of furniture from one room to the next. Or you might start looking at a basket in a new light, rather than going and buying some fancy organizing tool.
Living with less encourages creativity, and it can be loads of fun to see what you can come up with when making a choice to not buy more.
Use up what you have
I call this simple concept the “use it up principle”. If I have something that’s meh, I try to use it up before going to buy the next best thing.
It happens to all of us. We try out a new shampoo. Instead of sticking the so-so one in the back of the bathroom cabinet, I simply use it up first (maybe a little heavy-poured).
Commit to finishing a product before going out and buying the next best thing. It can be tough sometimes. Chalk up to a lesson learned on what you like (or don’t like) and move on.
Purposefully embrace a simple way of life with less stuff
Living with less stuff doesn’t have to be a life deprived of joy. In fact, it often means more joy.
No longer are you putting all your faith in your belongings to make you happy and comfortable. Rather, you are purposefully seeking out a life that doesn’t revolve around spending more money or bringing more things into your home.
Make new memories. Create new relationships.
Learn how to live with less without feeling deprived.
Wow, I thought I was the only person who doesn’t care one whit about a new car. I had one once and worried about the first scratch, accident, etc. I am now driving a 2005 Honda Accord 4cylinder. It has 126,000 +. Miles on it so it has a way to go before I trade it in or donate it to some worthy foundation for parts. I paid cash for this car back in 2007, from a dealer. It had been a lease vehicle with 27,000 miles on it. I will buy another Honda when I’m ready to buy another car. I wish more people would not be in such a rush to compete for the newest, biggest, or most expensive. Think of how much money you will save!
My Toyota Highlander has over 150,000 miles on it. I love it and don’t want to give it up..However, I’m a 77 year old Grandmother who is carting my Grandkids around a lot. I worry about my “precious “ cargo. So, when I take them out of the area, more than 25 miles, I worry about my dear sweet car breaking down. Do, how do you know when it’s time to say goodbye to an old friend and buy a new one???