There was an article in the New York Times titled, “But Will It Make You Happy?” It features a couple who decided to live simply–as in four plates, three pairs of shoes, and two pots. The wife, who was inspired by a website that advocated living with 100 things, did exactly that. They got rid of their cars, moved into a studio and are very happy. They also paid off $30,000 of debt. How liberating!
There are very few material items that I’m attached to. Of course my engagement ring and wedding band. Probably some one-of-a-kind vintage pieces in my wardrobe. Or the two scarves that I treasure from the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul. I can’t live without my Tempurpedic mattress or my Mac laptop. But those are replaceable. I live for books, but those also can be easily replaced.
Why do Americans have so much crap? Storage rooms of old furniture and clothing. Cabinets full of china that rarely gets used. A vacuum-sealed wedding gown. Souvenirs from trips around the world.
“New studies of consumption and happiness show, for instance, that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material objects, when they relish what they plan to buy long before they buy it, and when they stop trying to outdo the Joneses.”
Which means we all need to go on more vacations!