“More Is More” — The Marketing Lie Told To You, The Consumer

In these always-on-the-go times, there is a lot of advice out there on how to reduce stress and create a more calming lifestyle, especially for busy parents.

Manufacturers are constantly offering the latest and greatest products to make our lives easier, and especially with children in the home, we feel the pressure to fill our spaces with things promised to make the day go more smoothly.

But there is a new movement on the rise, and it promises us we can do more – and with much less.

Becoming Minimalist tells us:

From the moment we’re born, we’re told to pursue more. Advertisements from every television, radio, newspaper, magazine, billboard, and website scream to us on a daily basis that more is better. As a result, we work hard hours so that we can spend countless dollars purchasing the biggest homes, fanciest cars, trendiest fashions, most popular toys, and coolest technologies.

But we all know it’s not true. We all know, deep-down, that happiness can not be bought at a department store—more is not necessarily better. We’ve just been told the lie so many times we begin to believe it.

Let’s face it, all that stuff we accumulate in our lives actually leads to more stress.

Our drawers and cabinets are stuffed, we can never find what we need when we are looking for it, and there is always something to clean.

There are even professional organization experts you can hire to come into your home and show you how to make living among all that stuff more manageable.

And these so-called “life experts” make more money when you have more clutter in your home.

But if we cut back in small ways, it can make a big difference in how we perceive what is truly important.

Becoming Minimalist lists the most common areas of our day-to-day living where we can scale back to really make a difference:

  1. Clothes. According to statistics, we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. That means that many of us have closets full of clothes that we no longer like or no longer fit us correctly. They are just taking up space.
  2. Decorations. Many of the decorations in our homes hold no personal value to our lives. They just simply happened to match the color of the carpet or be on sale when we walked into the store. Unfortunately, they are distracting you and your guests from the decorations in your home that share your story and highlight your values.
  3. Toys. Too often, we fall into the line of thinking that says more is better… and so do our kids. We begin to purchase and collect far too many toys for our children. As a result, our children have no need to learn how to be creative, helpful, careful, or sharing.
  4. Cooking Utensils. There never seems to be enough storage space in our kitchens. The truth is that when it comes to cooking, simple is almost always better. 
  5.  Televisions.  The average American home now has more television sets than people. We are literally sitting on the couch while life passes us by. Experiment with owning less televisions. As a result, you will watch less. And when you do, you will be more apt to do it together as a family.
  6. Countertops. Clutter is a form of distraction. It pulls at our attention and redirects our thoughts – even for just an instant. Everything sitting out on your countertops competes for your attention. Unfortunately, we have become so accustomed to these distractions that we don’t even notice them anymore… until they are removed.
  7. Furniture. It may require some heavy-lifting, but if you’re up for the challenge, removing excess furniture from your rooms will immediately open up significant space and airflow in your home.

Our homes are supposed to be a place of refuge; our sanctuary away from the stresses of the world.

If we come home from a long day to a home full of clutter, noise, and distractions, it prevents us from taking time to refocus our minds and prepare for the business of the next day.

Trying some of these simple tips — even just one at a time — can be the first step towards overall stress relief.

Surrounding yourself with less material possessions opens up a whole new mindset in appreciating the simple things in life — and will teach your children the value of finding happiness in the little things.