living with less

* Guest post by Jill Farris

The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn’t simple. ~Doris Janzen Longacre

Years ago I read a Household Hints book where the author pointed out this profound truth: even if we have the money to hire a housekeeper, we can’t hire someone to do the really hard work of managing a home; that is, going through the clutter and making decisions about what to do with it all.

A house or office with few belongings in it is a piece of cake to keep clean. Our challenge, in this century of great worldwide affluence, is to keep up with the constant inflow of paper, books and even very nice “free” items.  Once we have the clutter under control, the battle is half won.

Every single item in our home requires a decision. Should we toss it, store it, use it, give it to someone, sell it, or think about what to do with it (which is really just postponing the decision about what to do with it)? Our stuff requires time and energy…even it is just a piece of paper!

living with less |

Is your house cleared of stuff, the countertops and floors serenely peaceful and a delight to the eye?  You have proof that you have been decisive!

We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants.  Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.  ~Donald Horban

As you approach your space with an eye toward controlling your possessions, keep the following in mind:

  • Given the number of items you deal with on a daily basis you will sometimes make a mistake and get rid of something that is “precious” to someone (maybe even yourself).  Don’t become immobilized with guilt and quit being decisive.  Picture in your mind’s eye a delightful, peaceful space to live and work in.  Don’t stop!
  • Given the number of items that most of us have, you may keep Gramma’s dress or Dad’s watch for many years and find that the next generation doesn’t care about keeping it. Don’t be offended that they don’t value it the way you think it should be valued especially because you have spent so many hours of your life storing and taking care of that item!  We can’t predict what items will be treasured but we can resolve to remember our loved ones and value our living loved ones more than things! When we allow things to mean too much to us we are in danger of allowing them to destroy relationships with others if they lose, damage or devalue it in some way. Is it worth it?
  • Create memories that go beyond shopping or talking about  what you want to get someday. Choose, instead, to enjoy what you have and to give thanks for those whom you love.  The best things in life are not the things!Savor the icy popsicle on a hot summer day, exclaim over the vibrant hues of a sunset, squeeze  the chubby body of your toddler, breathe in the smell of early morning coffee and remember that life is, indeed, short!

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”~ Lin Yutang

Jill Farris is an inspirational speaker and writer who loves her husband Doug (of 30 years!) and eight children ages 7 to 27 in the beautiful state of Washington. She speaks and writes to those who hold the next generation on their laps. You can find her at (Like Generational Womanhood on Facebook!) or her speakers website

One response to “living with less”

  1. […] List Plan It, thoughts on living with less. A great discussion of scaling down wants and needs. Share […]


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