It’s a Vicious (or Blessed) Cycle

As I folded piles of laundry this morning, I got thinking about the paradoxes of stuff.  I have often claimed that I have too much stuff. From the amount of energy I spend tending to it all, I am pretty sure that is true.  On the other hand, some stuff is necessary:  clothes, food, shelter.  And some stuff is nice:  books, soft sofas, computers.

So, where do you draw the line, and how to do you find balance?

This is the problem for me.  I suspect it is the problem for many people.  It’s not a simple question.  Just as I’ve decided that we only need two sets of sheets per bed, a virus will run through our house and make me glad that I’ve held on to all those ratty old spares.  Or I’ll give away extra baking dishes, only to have a run of breakage mean that I need more.  I’m sure you’ve all had similar experiences, where it seems like life is trying to show you all the benefits of stocking up and holding on.  And even if life isn’t sending that message, you’ll be bombarded by it every time you turn on the television, walk down the street, or spend any time with people.  The world is like one big walking billboard; even if you’re in the forest, you’re bound to run into someone wearing clothes that advertise the maker.

All this stuff works in a cycle to make your life more challenging.  Let’s take clothes as an example.  Whether you have five outfits or fifty outfits, you are still wearing the same amount of clothing over the course of a week, and generating the same amount of laundry.  At that point, anything beyond some level of minimum is just more stuff to store and maintain.  The catch is that when you have tons of clothes, it is really easy to get just a little behind on your laundry.  And then maybe a little more behind.  Until you’ve got an overwhelming laundry issue and nothing to wear.  Then, you bust your tail to get all the laundry done and discover that you don’t actually have enough space to store all the clothes when they are clean.

Figuring out the best balance of possessions is an important part of keeping your life simple, your mind clear, and your calendar free of overwhelming chores.  It is a tricky thing to figure out, but it will help keep your brain and your wallet happy.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • When needs and wants have equal priority, you will spend way too much money. When you purchase too much, you will have a lot of money tied up with that stuff. It will also clutter the house, which means you might not know what you have.