I realized last night as I was starting to prepare dinner that my favorite utensil drawer is getting too full of stuff. It is so full it is no longer working efficiently. I need to rearrange and perhaps get rid of some stuff.
This is a passion of mine. I like for things to function and I have a lot to do, so I have to be well organized. An overload of stuff really gets in my way and makes me unhappy. I can't find things and I end up not being able to get things done because I have too much stuff getting in my way.
What I've really done is create more stress in my life just by accumulating too much stuff, mostly in my kitchen and my sewing room. Growing up everyone around me told me I was a terrible procrastinator. I would put off tasks until the last minute. It took a deadline to get me going. But the real reason I was slow to get to work was that I had a hard time getting things together in my Mom's disorganized house. It was even difficult to find a blank sheet of paper, much less 20 sheets for a term paper. There was furniture and figurines and china and photos and stuff everywhere, but not the right stuff for me to do school assignments.
Where have you accumulated too much stuff? We're all different but we all do it. We create stress with our stuff that gets in our way and makes us unhappy and stressed.
Having to pay for stuff can be really stressful, too. But there is another issue. All the clutter of the stuff is very stressful. Clutter makes everyone crazy and unproductive whether they realize it or not.
We can still enjoy owning stuff while dramatically reducing the related stress. Here are keys to accomplishing this.
1. Buy quality, especially for things like furniture and clothing. Most of our furniture is 20 plus years old or second hand and still looks great. Many people buy furniture every 5 to 10 years because it wears out but good furniture can be reupholstered or refinished and still useful. Never buy custom or special order.
2. Buy classic clothing. Skip fads and don't change size. I'm still wearing clothing I've had many years because I haven't changed size. Create your own style, one that makes you look your best. Take a realistic look at your body type and be kind to yourself and accepting of your body. Never buy the latest designer look unless it's classic and makes you look your best.
3. Once you reach a certain level of quality, stop. A good example is in stereos. Beyond a certain point most human ears can't tell the difference.
4. Buy for your personal pleasure, not to keep up with the "Jones".
5. When you start having trouble finding storage for all your stuff it's time to get rid of some of it. Donate some, give some away, have a garage sale, whatever.
6. Don't buy a bigger house so you can have more stuff.
Finally, let's talk about cars. We love our cars and for many of us, car payments are a major fixed expenditure.
We all need cars, but an automobile is a very poor investment. Actually it's not an investment at all, it's an expense. Then after you understand this sad fact:
a) Don't buy a new car. As soon as you drive it off the lot it's a used car.
b) Buy a nice used car. With proper planning and research you can buy a nice used car and it can even have a warranty. And you don't have to take the financial hit from driving a new car off the lot. Whoever bought it new already paid for that foolishness.
c) Remember, classic cars that are good investments are all at least 25 years old. Just ask Jay Leno. You might get and keep a real winner in the classic car market just by holding a good car long enough. It is possible.
d) Skip the long commute. Live near where you work or work where you live. 'Time's a wastin' and commuting is the biggest and most financially expensive time waster in all our lives. Use the time for a good hobby, relationships, and a career.
Reduce stress from stuff while still having nice stuff. You'll have more money just by having less stuff and having some extra money is a great way to have less stress.
Ron Stone is a lifestyle and financial professional. Among his companies he is an insurance agency specializing in low cost coverage for people with pre existing health conditions. Learn more about the surprising affordability of pre existing conditions insurance at his websites, Pre Existing Insurance and http://www.insurance-pre-existing-conditions.com " target="_blank" >Insurance Pre Existing Conditions