04 January 2014

One is Enough


Back in the eighties there was a show on television called Eight is Enough. Now the eight referred to in the title was children. And I guess for most families eight children would be enough.

But what about eight pairs sheets? Or eight outdoor chairs? How about eight handbags? Or eight pairs of jeans? Eight pairs of shoes? Or even more!

Living the Cheapskates way is about saving money, yes, but it's also about living simply and sustainably, living contentedly with what we have, and having enough. When we have enough we don't need any more.

So how much is enough? Is one enough? Or do we need eight to have enough?

In all honesty when we go camping one is enough, and sometimes more than enough.

We have one towel each.
We have one green bag of clothes each.
We have one cup each.
One plate each.
One bowl each.
One knife each.
One fork each.
One spoon each.
One multipurpose pot/pan/griddle.
One chair each.

And it works. We have everything we need. We can camp for weeks and have enough.

So why do we surround ourselves by more than one at home? What is it that causes us to have so much stuff? Stuff that we may never use, stuff that is forgotten about, lost in the back of a cupboard? How many is enough?

How many pens do you have in your handbag right now? I just counted mine - four. I can only use one at a time so why do I feel it necessary to carry three spares? If the one pen I have doesn't work I am sure there will be someone who can lend me a pen if I need it. If that fails I can always buy one. I don't need to carry the other three. One is enough.

Clothes are another thing we tend to have more than enough of. Ready-made clothes are cheap, it's easy to buy multiples. I'm sure we all know someone who buys the same shirt in every colour just because they're available. They an only wear one at a time. Gone are the days of having one set of work clothes on, with one in the wash and a set for Sunday. We can only wear one outfit at a time, do we really need to fill wardrobes so tight they won't take another coat hanger?

Just because we can buy multiples (and warehouse stores like Officeworks and Costco and big buy department stores like Big W and Kmart, even supermarkets encourage multiple buys) doesn't mean we should. Or need to. Pens are cheap, but that's no reason to carry three more than I need in my handbag.

I still have a stack of 1c exercise books I bought at Officeworks years ago. So many years ago that I can't remember when exactly. Now I'll use them up, because they are there. But did I need to buy the hundreds that I did, just because they were 1c each? No.

This year as you strive to reduce, reuse and recycle look at what you have. You may realize, like me, that you have more than enough. You may also realize that having enough will make you happy, that you don't need more than enough to find contentment.

By realizing what enough means to you (and it will mean different things for different people and that's OK) you may find that you don't need to work full-time to be happy. By understanding what enough means to you, you could find you have more time to do the things you love instead of taking care of all the clutter of more than enough.

You may even find that you can be really, truly happy and content with less.


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1 comment:

  1. This is sooo good advice :-)
    - i gathered so much over a period of 12 years in 'very good times' (previously very 'lean years') - because i felt i has 'missed something'
    then i 'lost' it almost all due to a natural event, and had to cope, down size (smaller living quarters & less money)
    I am still happy - my wardrobe is way less - but i am happy, less in kitchen 'essentials' but i don't miss that i 'dont have
    it did take a HUGH shake up for me to do this and keep it going - but i guess i needed it - i grew up very poor, so when i was in a position to get/want/have more - i 'needed it'
    now i know - i didn't
    when i was little - i NEVER recall that i felt deprived or that i was less
    soooo... back to good advice - for me - hard to do without the 'push' but i really do now embrace it !
    good luck all - even if it is just one little step at a time !

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