Concentrate On What We Love

This meme’s pithy little sentence, from Part II of CLEAN OUT YOUR LIFECLOSET, helps us look at simplifying our lives on all levels, not just the physical.

There are huge numbers of memes out there speaking of the simplicity of childhood a generation or two ago. The ability to do make-believe games has been lost. The capacity to simply roam outside has been curtailed by the ever-more-dangerous way parents view even their neighborhoods. So children grow up thinking that “things” will suffice the way experiences used to for us and the children before us.

As a result, I’d wager if you looked around your house for a couple of hours, you would find countless items where you have NO idea (a) why you bought them, (b) when or where you bought them, and (c) the last time you used them.

Try an experiment with me:

  • Find twenty objects in your house that mean something to you or you think you can’t live without. They can be pictures, tools, gadgets, knick-knacks, anything you choose.
  • Put them all on a table.
  • Take a look at these items for thirty seconds.
  • Then walk out of the room.
  • Now, try to list everything that you put on the table.

How did you do? Most people are unable to list all of the objects. They feel stressed even trying. Were you able to immediately recall the good feelings you got when you bought, used, or had an experience with any of the items? I’m willing to wager that you had a hard time even remembering when or why you purchased the majority of what’s on the table.

Now, here’s Part Two of the experiment.

  • This time, choose only five out of the twenty objects and put the rest away.
  • Look at the five items for thirty seconds.
  • Then walk out of the room.
  • List everything you kept on the table.

You were able to list the entire group, correct? And, you were probably able to remember the whens and whys of each item, right?

Compare your life to someone whose life is full of other things than… things. Think about living in a small studio flat in a large city. With only so much space, a studio dweller has to consider carefully anything they want to bring in. No room for a mixer AND a food processor AND a Nutri-Bullet. No need for three flat screen televisions. No space for two sets of dishes for twelve.

When you’re not surrounded by things – and, by extension the need to pay for them or care for them — you have more room in your life for the intangible. Room to think, to dream, to create, or to simply see the world.

Next time you think you want a “thing,” give it 24 hours. Think about how you might use it in your house. Then think about what you have that might do the same thing.

Thinking small means you can think more largely about life.

“Instead of trying to hold onto more things…concentrate on what we love, what we use, and what benefits us.” – Corbie Mitleid