Wants

As with needs our wants also hold a very personal measure of value. A large part of our modern lives are preoccupied with the ‘wanting of things’. This is largely due to extensive marketing campaigns from the advertising industry. They profit from our unending quest for happiness and social acceptance. They elude us into believing that we are somewhat inadequate if we do not engage in purchasing their products. In Roald Dahl’s 1971 film adaptation of his best-selling book, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, character Veruca Salt famously exclaims, ‘I want one. I want a golden goose!’ This precocious statement of ‘want’ shows the lust of instant gratification. In this moment of desire, there is minimal thought for the long-term impact such a purchase may have on the owner, or in this case on the goose!

Having or wanting is a concept of ownership. This abyss of wanting more is a shallow satisfaction that has us caught up in a cycle of replacement and acquisition. In our everyday lives, we have access to purchase many objects from a variety of sources. Anything you could possibly ever want is available from shopping complexes and websites. When Rightsizing, the question of ‘what do we want?’ will repeatedly be brought to the surface. ‘What we want’ will impact on the amount of objects that we decide to keep in our homes. ‘What we want’ will aid and hinder our projects as we begin to identify our needs in relation to how much space we have leftover to keep our wants. Before you buy something, to find out if it is a ‘need’ or simply a ‘want’, see how you feel about it before you make your purchase. If it’s from a store hold it in your hands and contemplate what value this will add and for how long; will it continue to do so? Alternatively, if it is an online purchase really think about this object before you frivolously click ‘add to cart’. Focus deeply on this object to see if it’s not just a token to symbolise something that may be missing from you emotionally or if it is just simply the vanity of owning the object in question.

The psychological ramifications of always wanting to own more things is addictive and leaves us increasingly empty as this compulsive dependency of ‘wanting’ takes over. As we saw in Chapter 1, having more belongings does not lead to an increased level of happiness. Looking for this fulfilment outside of ourselves will leave us with a lot of objects to maintain, look for and be responsible for in the long run. When we are in the PAUSE stage contemplating our wants it is important, to be honest with yourself about your self-worth in relation to the things you own. Begin to address your own feelings on how your possessions make you feel. Just because you own something are you more likely to feel either superior and important or inferior in the presence of others? Do you feel resentful or less worthy because you do not own something that someone else has? By investigating our relationship with our wants it will be easier to discard the excess in our lives.

LifeByDesign

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There’s No Place Like Home

Live Better With Our Belongings

Change is challenging. Nevertheless, the benefits you will experience when you ‘Rightsize your life’ will be worth it. When we discard objects from our past we are saying ‘yes’ to the future. French writer Simone de Beauvoir said, ‘Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.’ When we live a little lighter we feel our stress and anxiety melt away as we abandon our excess. Living better with our belongings means we can live a much more intended and contented life with less. Be brave and let go of your past self, your past ideas and embrace life. When we know our PLACE in the world this is reflected by the impression our homes give. Now our projects are complete using The Rightsize Approach to discard, sort and divide our excess, our Home Routines will be our next focus. Reflecting on who we are, what we deserve to own and what our home conveys about us will increase our health, our happiness and continue the balance we have now created for ourselves.

 

To Consume or Not To Consume

Happiness

Economics plays a large role in what we can afford. We all can agree that we have been raised on the assumption that a consumption-driven acquisition is how we attain success, respect and happiness. We are working harder and longer to sustain this material model. The average home has the following: lounges, beds, tables—occasional, side and dining—rugs, TVs—at least two—laptops, desktops, printers, fridges—kitchen and bar—washer, dryer, blender, coffee machine, audiovisual equipment—sound bars, speakers, etc.—books, magazines, knick-knacks, souvenirs, framed photos, artwork, desks, shelves, cabinets, cushions, mirrors and lamps. This is what we can see. So how about what we may not see, such as our linens, medicines, utensils, appliances, toys, camping gear, hobby items—sewing, scrapbooking—bikes, gym equipment, DVDs, CDs, records—maybe you still have these—clothes—summer/winter/special occasion—make-up, hair products, tools, plant pots, gaming consoles, family treasures and your baby’s first shoes … this list could go on and on. Start to open drawers in your house and the list could fill this book!

 

Subsequently, we all had to work to pay for these fairly standard necessary items BUT statistically we are less happy than previous generations. In our modern age of excess, money cannot buy us love and ‘things’ are not making us happy. Tim Kasser, a psychology professor from Knox college in the US, produced a study indicating that strong materialistic values are in fact undermining our wellbeing, our life satisfaction and causing a reduction in our overall happiness. The physical afflictions associated with these states of being include depression, anxiety, and narcissistic and antisocial behaviours. What is ironic is that these feelings lead us to consuming more things to make us feel better.

 

According to an article in The Telegraph in 2017, Australia ranked the tenth happiest country in the world. A study conducted by the Warwick University found that happiness in the UK and US peaked in 1957. During this year it was recorded that only one in five households had a washing machine, one in twenty owned a refrigerator and only nine percent of households had a black-and-white television. Essentially, life without our modern conveniences, appliances and services of today was tougher … but happier. We have more money and more possessions than we did 60 years ago but we are no happier.

 

A report in 2004 by the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World  found that once our essential needs are met, having basic material necessities will add value and increase our comfort levels for overall life satisfaction. However, the incremental increase in our happiness declines with the more things we accumulate. The more we have the less happy we are. To afford and maintain all these things in our lives we are working more and thus spending less time with family, friends and social groups. Economics aside, looking at the real cost of ownership bestowed on us once we bring these items into our lives, we are still paying out. Ancient cultures believed that every item has an energy and that this energy fills our homes and our minds with its purpose. If we do not need or no longer want these items then this energy in caring for them may cause an imbalance and take our attention away from what is really important in our lives.The maintenance of all our objects requires us to find, clean and store all these items which all adds to extra demands upon our modern lives.