I think the only time the mantra ‘less is more’ is not true, is when you’re taking about growing in holiness. Less prayer, bad. Less sacraments, very, very bad.
But allowing that caveat, in general I think we as individuals, families and society benefit with a less is more mindset. Taking on less debt, good. Purchasing fewer items with greater value than tons of inexpensive junk, also good. Less homework, most excellent for everyone involved.
Sometimes I go through periods of coveting more and more stuff (thank goodness for our limited budget), but other times I crave smaller and the seemingly simpler.
Like a tiny home perhaps? Definitely not wheelchair friendly, but I would love a home I could clean from top to bottom in an hour, tops. I feel like it’s so easy to fill a large house with stuff, because you have room to store it all. I’d almost prefer less storage space to force me to get rid of more, be mindful of everything I purchase (Do we really have room for that?) and hopefully encourage generous gift givers to give less. (I’m hinting at all the toys my kids receive.)
I’m STILL cleaning out around here and finding that yes, if I make the effort to pare down my belongings, my older kids are more likely to willingly sort through their clothes, books, toys, miscellaneous bits of plastic and clean out too. But we’re all continually working in the gratitude department. (“Yes, we are all happy with what we have!! No we’re not going to Target!!”) Wasn’t that supposed to be a goal for me or something??
Thankfully, I’ve already succeeded in the capsule wardrobe department with no regrets. Still not sure if I want to follow Rebecca and take things a step further, but the daily uniform is not as uncommon as you might think.
In general, less decisions are better too. Over-thinking, over-planning and not doing is a really problem for me. I need only write so many lists before it’s time to just take action, perfect outcome be damned. Interestingly enough, overthinking may make it harder to learn new tasks.
With homeschool planning season on the horizon, filled with new catalogues of programs that promise to make your kids love every. single. subject. it’s good to know that less is more in education too. I’m going to say we use a Finnish inspired flow from now on. (And if you’re not a homeschooler, I still think you’ll find that link interesting. Is your child’s school making education more complex then it has to be?)
It’s also tempting to fill up the schedule with fun activities. In fact I find that my calendar is filling up without much effort on my part, and we’re not even involved in organized sports! In general, less scheduled activities make things run smoother around here. If I’m stressed out, it probably because I’m running around too much. And like Mamatoga says, usually over-scheduling sneaks up on you! Even when you’re committed to not over-scheduling. I’m finding it’s impossible to get my older kids involved in anything for fun anymore. It’s all competitive and requires a three to four night commitment. My involved parent friends say the benefits of competitive sports and activities outweigh the hassle of running around, but I can’t see me driving my three older kids around every night of the week, while entertaining their two younger siblings, and not wanting to kill someone. No wonder sideline parents get such a bad reputation. I’d be angry and yelling if I skipped a family dinner and drove 45 minutes to soccer practice just to watch my kid get benched on a bad call.
And while I don’t aspire to the cloistered life, I do think religious are the epitome of less is more in all the right ways.
So less is more: yay or nay? Any additional links you’d recommend?