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Monday, January 16, 2012

Less. 2.

I wasn't sure how my idea and word choice for less would be received. In all honesty, I knew I was admitting some personal character flaws that were a little embarrassing. {Hello, hoarder of bedding and overspender at coffee shops!}

However, the post and my word was well received. And many of you shared similar feelings and sentiments. I had some Twitter conversations, Facebook friends shared the post with their circles, comments and "likes" started spreading and even my email/text inbox heard feedback.

I wanted to share some of the things I've been hearing, the comments some left that resonated with me, the conversations I've had with others and even some of the notes I've received with questions.

Allison wrote..."The memories aren't in the "stuff" they are in the "heart" and someone else needs those things way more than we do."

It's a good point because I have close to half a closet full of clothes I haven't worn in YEARS for sentimental reasons. Seriously, two business suits that some woman out there could be wearing to a job interview or something.

Jessie wrote..."Can I add that a huge way you can support a "LESS" campaign is to stop giving things? I have worked hard for the past 5 years to simplify my life by eliminating stuff. The hardest challenge has been not to accept free stuff...from family, friends or otherwise. It makes me upset that you can't choose to run in a race WITHOUT getting a t-shirt. I don't need more shirts. I would much rather enjoy someone's company for a while than get a purchased token. Anyway, I think in trying to have less, we can all be better about not dumping stuff on others too."

How often do we do this to others and how often does this happen to us? I've had offers of things {ahem, some furniture from a relative years ago that we didn't need or want but I felt bad saying no, J still brings this up as it was a mess to donate later.} Or badgering others to take things we don't need or want anymore.

Conversations with friends and aquaintenances have been so interesting. What's interesting is the fact that we all agree and are coming to terms with the fact we are a culture obsessed with more.

More money. More stuff. More technology. Bigger. Better. More.

I'm not suggesting we all sell and donate our possessions, cars, start wearing robes and live in cardboard boxes. {Yes, someone actually asked this. Yes, she's still my friend.}

I'm suggesting becoming intentional where it seems we've gone mindless. I'm suggesting looking beyond OURSELVES. Beyond our immediate desires and what our children ask us for to do something for greater good. I'm suggesting that instead of buying more, we're present more. Instead of watching more, we're talking more.

I'm not saying you can't have a nice house with nice things and drink Starbucks coffee.

I'm just saying let's stop being mindless, let's stop being distracted by all of the worlds offerings and let's start living real, intentional lives where others lives benefit from our excess.

In conversations throughout this past week so many gave me such great ideas and thoughts to ask and share. Now that we're all done unsubscribing from our junk email {You did that right? I did and let me tell you, there is nothing better than checking my email and not having every single sales special or discount at my fingertips. Seriously.}

This week, let's talk about what it is that is excess in our lives. Three things.

For me, the three biggest struggles I'm going to face with LESS are:

1. Technology. I like being connected. I'm going to a discussion group this Thursday night and I'm already feeling the stirring inside that I'm going to need to start having some "unplugged" days.

2. Coffee. Yes, I said it's ok to get coffee. What's not ok is being obsessed and planning one's life and day around it. Stopping at Starbucks or Caribou used to be a special treat and it's turned into a daily-must-have. A friend already suggested a challenge regarding this that I'm hoping to tackle and share in the next couple weeks.

3. Stuff. There are still things to go through around here that others need more than me.

So what are your three? What three areas do you want to get rid of excess? What is going to challenge you the most?



Anonymous Stacey said...

1. Coffee! I think I NEED it.... Really I just like it! Starbucks or Caribou.... Not homemade!
2. Fast food. I love the ease, not having to cook and sometimes just the chance to get out and let the kids play... Thanks play lands!
3. Cell phone. I love staying connected with friends, family, friends and more friends! Nothing's better then sharing hard mom days with other moms going through it. Honestly, life would be so much harder without that connection!

January 16, 2012 at 10:12 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

1. Mindless spending. For years we have recorded our spending but never really applied a "budget" to change our habbits.
2. Not upgrade my phone...not sure I want to be that connected currently dont have a data plan/phone that supports one) but that Iphone is tempting.
3. Drama. Don't like it at all.

January 16, 2012 at 10:39 PM  
Anonymous karin said...

Starbucks. I work at target and we have one in store. Its too easy to grab a $4 drink and pastry for breakfast and do the math on ends up being about $30/week. I only get them on payday now so its more of a treat.
Shopping. Same thing working at target. Its so easy to pick up $2-3 shirts for the kids or hubs until I do all the laundry and realize they each have 30-40 shirts...each
Passing stuff to others. I hate seeing the kids clothes go to waste. I love giving hand me downs to others but realize they might feel uncomfortable saying no as I have. I need to work on keeping special clothing items for when they grow up and have their own and let go of the other 90% of their clothes to the goodwill

January 17, 2012 at 6:58 AM  
Anonymous Karen said...

1. Girl clothes. After having 3 boys it's hard not to buy every cute little thing out there for girls! But at 7 months old, she has already outgrown a lot of things that still have the price tags on them! =0

2. Spending less at Target and sticking to a list..I find I walk out of there with way more stuff then I originally intended to buy!

3. Toys for the kids. We have SO much, TOO much! We started a tradition a couple of years ago...instead of birthday presents, we do a special activity (waterpark, going to see a play, going to a race track to see car racing, etc). Kids don't remember the presents they get from year to year, but they do remember the time you spent with them doing something special. We call it "memories over material things"

Keep the posts coming, so inspiring! =)

January 17, 2012 at 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Jes said...

1. Less impulse buying. I have gotten much better at this, but I know I could be better

2. Less purchasing of craft supplies for that project that "I just have to make because it is amazing" and then I never find time to make it and the supplies just sit in my cupboard.

3....still working on that one.

January 17, 2012 at 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to comment on all I've accomplished since unsubscribing to the 100s of unnecessary emails I was receiving every day.
1) Cleaned out my Dyson...been on my to-do list since August.
2) Saved $50/month on my Comcast bill by actually taking the time to call and evaluate our package.
3) Read more books with my kids.
4) Bought, cut-up, and stored cold veggies in the fridge to grab and eat. Oh, and made a yummy veggie dip to go with them.

And can I make an observation? It just about kills me when a friend makes a comment about not having enough money. The kicker is that we're standing in front of their $35k vehicle, they have 2 laptops, 1 iPad, 2 iPhones, their kids are in every activity known to man, and they have a flat screen TV in every room of their house. Now, how am I supposed to just nod and say, "oh, I understand." No, I don't understand. Their family has plenty of money, they are just choosing to spend it all and more!

I love this LESS concept and think it should be applied to everything except sex!! :)

January 17, 2012 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

1. Bath and body products - I have just more than I could possibly use in a year at this point and I need to force myself to use it all up before buying something new
2. Impulse buying - not just with the above mentioned bath stuff, but just stuff in general. Currently on a clothing shopping ban to help with this, but there are other things I could stop spending money on too.
3. Computer use - can't avoid it during the day, but sometimes at home I'm tempted to just sit and putz on my computer when I should be doing other things!

I did the email purge and it feels so good! Love that my inbox isn't so daunting each day!

January 17, 2012 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger Ann-Marie said...

My big three are:

1) Sticking to a list when shopping (grocery or otherwise)

2) Iced coffees at Dunkin' Donuts on the way to work: they are so tasty, but I don't need to spend the money -- or the calories -- on them.

3) Downgrading my phone to one with no data plan: I've been really gung-ho about this for the past week, but today, I started thinking . . . "What if I want to take a photo of J and put it up on FB in an instant?" But do I *have* to do it in an instant? No. That's why I asked for that beautiful new camera for my birthday a year ago. And why I have a home computer.

Another excess-fighting concept I am committed to trying this coming Christmas is to give only consumable gifts to the adults. We end up with so much stuff we don't need (even if we ask for it).

January 17, 2012 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger amanda said...

loved getting all caught up and love this idea of less! yay for you friend!!

January 17, 2012 at 11:43 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

1. Impluse buying - I do pretty good, but if I don't have a list I come out with a lot more than what I wanted.
2. Fast food -after a long crazy day sometimes I don't want to cook so we either just swing by someplace or order pizza. No matter what it would be better and healthier if I cooked.
3. Trying to really purge the stuff we don't use. It's almost been 4 years since we got married and I'm sure that there are things we haven't used, but I haven't gotten rid of or something we used once but not since then. I need to start cleaning things out and donating them!

January 18, 2012 at 8:51 AM  

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