I think it started in the Fall with the onset of the Recession. I suddenly felt a need to save more and to be more careful with my spending.
Thankfully this wasn’t in reaction to a significant change in my own financial situation.
It was more an underlying sense of unease about the economy, and possibly I also got caught up in the national wave of belt-tightening.
But what started as an act of deprivation has turned in to a source of joy.
Instead of shopping for clothes this summer. I’ve been shopping my own closet.
And as part of this, I’ve done a serious purge of all the frivolous “well, it’s only $20 dollars, how can I resist?” items that crammed the shelfs and racks.
These superfluous little splurges weren’t adding up to too much monetarily. But they were choking my closet and keeping me from seeing the clothes I have and want to wear.
It’s like I had so much stuff… that in the morning when I went to get dressed for work… I felt I had nothing.
Which would prompt a need to go shopping again, and the vicious cycle continued.
The joy of passing these clothes on to friends of mine and to charity made this purge even more satisfying.
As part of my new pared down approach, I’ve also decided I am going to adopt a sort of uniform in the Fall. Black, white (and occasional grey) separates and only accents in color (e.g. belts,scarfs, jewelery).
I only made this decision a few weeks ago, but already it’s proved to be very liberating. I can walk right past the stores in Soho crying to me with their many colored dresses, tunics, shoes etc.
Since these items don’t fit my simple dress plan I keep on walking.
I have a few friends that have also taken this approach in terms of their homes.
Because of job transfers, break-ups etc. they are renting furnished apartments. The majority of their stuff has been disposed of or put in storage. They took with them only what would fit in one or two suitcases.
To a person, they have told me that being unburdened from all their stuff is an incredibly positive and freeing experience.
Now as a brand person, I feel a bit guilty about this new philosophy.
Isn’t conspicuous consumption, the oil that greases the wheels of the economy?
I don’t claim that my actions alone are bringing the economy to a grinding halt.
(Although I do bet the DSW Shoe warehouse in Westchester is feeling the pinch of my abstinence).
But as a human being I feel lighter, healthier almost. And when I do occasionally buy something now, I cherish it’s significance more. I value it more.
I wonder what will happen when the money and optimism starts flowing again. Will consumer go back to their free-spending ways?
There are different points of view on this. But I have a hunch that the “joy of less” will remain with some of us even when the world goes back to “more”.
That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?
Have you experienced the joy of less?