Do you want to know the secret to wanting less stuff?
It’s not to stay out of the store.
It’s not avoiding all consumer marketing.
It’s not even ending your relationship with The Joneses.
The key to wanting less stuff is to own less stuff.
Stuff Begets Stuff
I’ve written before about feedback loops, which are systems that build on each other. The classic example is a microphone that is next to its speaker. As noise is made, the microphone picks up its own noise and creates louder and louder feedback.
“Stuff” works in a feedback loop too. The more you stuff you own, the more stuff you’re going to want.
First, you buy a new TV. Now you want to get a new smart device like an Apple TV, Roku or gaming console. And those, of course, require a Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime subscription.
But what are you sitting on to watch your new TV? That old furniture will not do! You’ll want to buy new furniture so that when guests come over, you’ll have nice couches and chairs for them to sit on.
And wait a minute… is your house nice enough to meet your new “stuff” standards? You might want to think bigger and better when it comes to everything!
After a certain point, “stuff” begins to have inflated importance in your life. The more stuff you own, the more you put value in acquiring things!
But thankfully, the “stuff” feedback loop works the opposite way.
Own Less To Want Less
There is a weird simple living paradox when it comes to the stuff in your life. The less stuff you have, the less stuff you want.
You’d think that as you declutter your home and/or embrace a more simple lifestyle, that you’d miss the things in your life. However, for many people the opposite is true.
As you own fewer things, you begin to realize you don’t actually need that much to be happy.
Owning less fosters a feeling of contentment for what you do have. It also makes you realize that happiness doesn’t come from stuff, and if anything, owning too much reduces your happiness.
So if your goal is to want less stuff, start by having less stuff.