minimalist keeping up with the Joneses

Your kids are satisfied with what they have… you can be too.

What really causes you to hold onto things?

One day I was helping a friend clear out clutter in her home. She got stuck on one item, and we tried to discuss and discover why she was hesitating. It was a purchase which was now taking up precious room in the house considering how seldom it was used. I asked questions like, ‘Do you need it? Do you get use out of this? Do you like it? Does it make you happy? Does it add value to your life?’

All the answers were ‘no’. So why is it hard to part with? After talking about this, we discovered that the hard truth was a feeling of being inadequate without it… or feeling that someone will judge us for what we don’t own. I’ve thought back to this day because it challenged me to think about myself and what things I hold onto just because I might want to impress someone. Someday. In the hypothetical future.

What do you value most?

I’d like to think that I don’t have anyone to impress with material things. When people come to my house, I want them to see me and my family, not the things I own; I’d like to value home above gold.

What things are you holding onto just to impress the Joneses? It’s good to question whether you keep things not because they are useful or beautiful to you, but because you feel the need to make someone else happy by keeping them. That item might be different for all of us: Maybe it’s your car, your house, the brand name of your clothes, your phone, your purse, your shoes, or your dishes, your furniture. How exhausting. How much time do we spend worrying about what other people will think of our physical possessions? We want to take care of the things we own, but we don’t want them to own us.

Of course I want my home to be a place that is welcoming and inviting for visitors. But if other people aren’t impressed by my material things and then choose to not be friends with me because of it… then perhaps they didn’t value me for me in the first place.

On the other hand, oftentimes people don’t even notice as much as we think they will. We think that people are watching or judging us, even when they really aren’t.

When we think about this for a while, it’s not something to be sad about, but something that can actually bring freedom. Let go, live lighter, and don’t worry about the Joneses. They might just notice how free you are and ask how to live with Less Stuff. More Life.

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