“LESS IS MORE”

 

robertbaby

My son at the beach.

My husband said that under his breath last night. He was talking about a client who tries to time the market, buying and selling stocks and bonds–and make decisions that are too complicated. It made me think about our upcoming weekend plans where we’ve promised to clean out our closets and throw away stuff. It was 25 years ago we moved into our house! Yes, it’s time to clear out junk and go with the mantra “less is more.”

“Less is more” was first credited to a poem, Andrea del Sarto, by Robert Browning in 1855.

 

“Who strive – you don’t know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,-
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter) – so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia.”

Later, a German-American architect Mies van der Rohe used “less is more” describe a stripped-down style of building design.

While researching “less is more” I ran into an article about a “less is more” Christmas plans for young kids in the Washington Post in “Trying to tame holiday gift excess? Here are 4 alternatives to a mountain of toys” by Lindsey M. Roberts:

When family life counselor Kim John Payne published “Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids” in 2009, he was warning us about how our supersize lives were affecting our kids. He was seeing kids who were unable to play by themselves in rooms full of toys, throwing frequent tantrums caused by overscheduling, and being diagnosed with behavioral disorders they didn’t have. He knew something needed to change.

“The too much, too soon, too sexy, too young — it’s become ubiquitous,” he says.

It turns out he was onto something with that “less is more” approach, particularly when it comes to holiday toys. Each year, as minimalism grows in popularity, Payne sees more parents embracing the call for less stuff and more time together.

The article interviews four people from a blogger to a book author about how they have pared down Christmas giving with their kids.

I remember our first Christmas with our baby boy. We had a Christmas tree that almost touched the ceiling and presents stacked almost as high. It was ridiculous and decadent. I also remember our son being fascinated with a bow and playing with it for hours on end. He completely ignored the Little Tikes blue car, the Playmobil table and chairs, and other creative brain-enhancing toys we purchased for him. It was an eyeopening experience and after that, we dialed it back. I also asked the grandparents to not overdo the gifts—and if they’d prefer—they could contribute to the college fund we had set up.

In Embracing “Less Is More” For Better Health, in the Idaho Senior Independent, an article by Carrie Stensrud talks about how “less is more” is important for those on a later end of the life spectrum, too.

From “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:”

“Minimalism is a style of extreme spareness and simplicity. Originally demonstrated in expressions of music or art, minimalism has gained momentum as a lifestyle, inspiring folks to keep only a minimum amount of belongings and sell or donate the rest. Some have taken the idea so far as to leave their homes and move into “tiny homes,” downsizing from a traditional house to spaces as small as 400 square feet.

“Despite varying degrees along the minimalist spectrum, the bottom line remains: ‘Less is more’ is better for your physical and mental health.

“To compound the problem, general disorganization results in not being able to find things when you need them. The risk of falling increases with rushing, worrying, and losing focus.

“Clutter around the home also creates places for bacteria, dust, and mold to collect. Exposure to increased levels of environmental hazards can aggravate allergies and other respiratory conditions, cause generalized inflammation, and even lead to chronic illness.”

I’m convinced. “Less is more” and I’m tackling my closet tomorrow.

 

robertbaby 2

The blue car and Sherman the cat.

What are your thoughts about “less is more?”

 

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5 thoughts on ““LESS IS MORE”

  1. By nature, I am in the less is more camp. Some stuff is useful, more is a burden.I don’t have children myself, but I have 7 nieces and nephews. Early on, it became clear that these kids in general have more than enough stuff.
    My approach to birthdays became about adventures. Each birthday, the child got a token for an adventure. We’ve done hikes, out to lunch, ballet, symphony, cirque du soleil, all manner of things. I like it, because I get to spend one on one time with this person, and get to know them better. The kids (now ranging from 18 to 33 in age) like it as well. Both for the time with me (I imagine) and also for the opportunity to check out something they might not due otherwise. Interestingly, I took my oldest niece to the symphony for the first time a few months ago. Her sister has always been curious about ballet, and we went last year when she turned 31. Its fun to continue exploring and checking stuff out. Its morphed from middle school, and that’s good.
    To me experiences are a bigger deal than stuff. This obviously comes from a place of significant privilege, as there is enough, hopefully without excess.

    • I love your adventures with your niece and nephews. That’s a wonderful idea! What wonderful memories you’ve created. Last year for my husband’s birthday, my daughter made the point that what he would want most of all is to have a weekend with his kids who live away from home–and to watch her swim in a meet. We surprised him with a weekend in Salt Lake City where my daughter is in college and flew in our son. It was a birthday he’ll cherish and remember.

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