Today’s guest blogger is Carol Ehlers, an ISU Extension Family Finance specialist helping Northwest Iowans make the most of their money.
It usually happens in threes, like what I experienced in my garage:
- A mother-daughter talk about college and her “minimalist” friends,
- Reading great summer books on money and happiness, and
- Cleaning around the stuff in our garage.
Joshua Becker, author of “The More of Less,” discovered that there might be more to life while cleaning his garage. It was so packed with rarely used items he couldn’t park the family car inside. His ‘Ah-Ha Moment’ was having to choose between playing ball with his son or spending time with stuff in the garage.
- What is the ‘More of Less’? Becker sees it as “keeping things we most value and removing anything that distracts us from what we value.”
- What does it look like? “The More of Less” goes beyond everyday ideas about decluttering (which typically involves placing stuff in three boxes: keep, throw, and give away). Instead “we decipher what possessions we need to accomplish our life role (a farmer needs different supplies than a schoolteacher) and then we refuse to allow anything to keep us from fulfilling our purpose.”
- What questions do I ask? The downsizing process informs my vision for my future. Do I really need this object? Why or Why Not? What principles should guide me in deciding what I keep and what I get rid of?
- How does this impact money? Once you start spending less money shopping, you may be freed up to consider a career change, to work toward getting out of debt, or to support a cause you care about.
Becker shares personal experiments specific to values downsizing:
- Pride in Your Ride. Consider the high-impact money decision of buying a vehicle through the “More of Less” values filter. Is your instinct to buy new? to buy a status car? Another option is to spend less money to purchase a modest, serviceable car and use the money saved for a future need like college expenses. See “Money Mechanics- Owning A Car.” https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/4899
- Project 333. Check out Courtney Carver’s strategy for simplifying her morning routine by downsizing to thirty-three items of clothing during a three-month experiment. Her strategy (https://bemorewithless.com/project-333/), saves money, time, and stress.
- Keeping the Relationship #1. Show that you value people more than possessions by preventing conflict about stuff from separating your family. See “Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate.” https://www.extension.umn.edu/family/personal-finance/who-gets-grandmas-yellow-pie-plate/
I’m back cleaning our garage and thinking ‘Maybe I don’t need to own all this stuff!’ I’m starting my own “The More of Less” personal experiment over the next 12 weeks.