Living Better with Less: Going Without

The Glenstone Museum. Photo by Laura Cattano.

The Glenstone Museum. Photo by Laura Cattano.

On my journey to live better with less, I've embraced the idea of going without. We're conditioned to go buy something the moment we think we 'need' it, but then we end up with things over time that don't actually add to our lives.

Some people are frightened by this idea. They think it's a negative reflection of themselves; that they cannot afford to buy something. I think it's the opposite. It's saying that you're in total control of what you bring into your life and your home. It's freeing to have less and actually use the things you have. I think it's best articulated in a quote by J Brotherton:

“My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions, but in the fewness of my wants.”

One useful tool to curb my over shopping was walking away from things at the store (including free things) to see if I thought about it again. More than not I would forget, and for those things I didn't I would sometimes go back and get it. Those are things that end up being some of my favorite pieces. This is a great tactic for clothes and decorative things.

Another tactic I adopted was the necessity to prove to myself I needed a particular thing, that having that thing was going to change my life. This meant I needed to find myself in a situation where I would actually being using said thing and say 'if I had that thing right now, I could...' at least 5 times before buying it.

For instance, I'm not into gadgets or tech stuff but I've thought about getting an ipad. I've thought it would be nice to sit in bed and use the computer (I have a desktop and do not like laptops). Friends have suggested I could bring it to client meetings. So I tried to prove to myself I needed it. The reality is I only use my bed to sleep, I don't lounge there reading or using a computer (which is one of the reasons I have no problem going to sleep). As far as using it at work, all my clients have a computer. It's only been maybe one or two times over the years that I've actually thought about it in the moment. It’s only when I see one I think it would be nice to have one, but in reality it's not going to change my life in a dramatic way so I never bought one. And you know what? I’m totally fine without it.

Laura Cattano