In October 2010 I was in Peru – a trip full of meaningful moments and encounters, many of which could not have been predicted. For several days we stayed at a local family’s home in the Lake Titicaca area - a remote village with no running water or electricity. Our hosts went out of their way to ensure our stay was comfortable, that we felt welcome, and were well fed. We lacked for nothing despite the simplicity of our accommodations.
|View from our room|
One night, as we gathered in the "kitchen” eating by candlelight, sitting on a thatched hay bench built against mud-packed walls, one of my fellow travelers commented on her son’s recent purchase of a new monster house in the suburbs of Toronto. She lamented that he had had bought a home larger than that he already had; one that would have continued to be sufficient despite his growing family. She said, “he just doesn’t get it”.
Those poignant words I've never forgotten. What followed was a discussion about how misguided we (North Americans and others) have become, believing that bigger/more is better and being fundamentally disappointed when we discover it's not.
Some say that less is more, while simultaneously struggling to keep track of all that they have accumulated….an unmanageable combination of items given to them, impulse purchases, seasonal trinkets, and plain and simple junk.
Perhaps I have my mom to thank. Growing up with a pack rat was a sure recipe to turn me into the opposite. My condo is so lean, both for lack of space and to ensure I don’t replicate the needless boxes she kept and managed for years.
I have been guilty of going to such an extreme that I get rid of things I find I later need. I feel a real sense of freedom in the lack of clutter and in managing just what it is that I use in terms of both objects and space.
So (for example) while some conveniences like a hand mixer might make life a little easier for baking, I find other solutions to get the job done, and even greater satisfaction in the lack of clutter. But, I know that this may not be a popular point of view and would like to hear from you. What do you think?