January Money Diet Day 27 – Less is the New More

Interior by Dana Hugo of j&o Studio

Interior by Dana Hugo of j&o Studio

Some of you may know that I’m a self employed writer. One of my favorite gigs is writing articles for home design magazines like Mountain Living and Western Art & Architecture. I love studying the beautiful rooms created by talented designers, like the lovely dining room above by Dana Hugo of j&o Studio.

With few exceptions, most of the spaces that featured in home design magazines are open and uncluttered. The very wealthy could afford to fill their homes full of stuff (and some do), but those with good taste seem to opt for rooms that lean more toward simplicity and serenity.

Most of the top designers I talk to invest in clean-lined, classic furniture of good quality and scale, appropriate for the size of the room. They accessorize sparingly. With just a few well-chosen pieces, spaces look elegant and streamlined.

Simplicity Equals Profitability

If you’ve ever browsed home listings on real estate websites, you may have noticed that the homes that are uncluttered look larger and more appealing. Cluttered spaces, on the other hand, can seem small and cramped.

Professional stagers are sometimes hired to declutter and spruce up spaces of homes for sale. The result? Realtors say that buyers most often offer a 1 to 5 percent increase on the value of a staged home.

The good news is that we can emulate this look in our own homes. We can buy less. We can edit our belongings. We can store things, and resist the urge to fill every surface of our homes with stuff. Uncluttered rooms are also easier to clean, which will give us more time to enjoy our homes.

As we wean ourselves off the January Money Diet, we will be confronted with shopping temptations. We will need to be strong! So let’s visualize our homes as beautiful, simple and spare when we are tempted to buy throw rugs or gyro snack bowls or Brookstone TV remote pillows.

Practicing the Art of Less

Less can equal more in other parts of our lives, too. Could we let go of some of these things in 2016, and enjoy radically happier lives?

  • Over-committing
  • Taking on more debt
  • Eating unhealthy food
  • Multi-tasking
  • Mindless spending
  • Negative thinking
  • Toxic relationships
  • Complaining
  • Spending too much time connected to digital devices
  • Judging
  • Worrying

How about you?

What would you like to let go of in 2016? We’d love to hear what you want LESS of in the Comments section of this page.

Here’s to MORE of what matters this year. You deserve it.


The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

January Money Diet Day 27 – Less is the New More

  • Lois

    I downsized almost five years ago and have done pretty well in not adding more to my belongings until a year ago when I move. Now I have all this home improvement stuff, most of it borrowed. My goal this year is to finish the projects that need the borrowed tools and return them to their owners. Both the finished rooms and the lack of those tools will make my home feel much more calming.

  • Lyn

    The whole idea of sterility leaves me cold. I am a big fan of having objects you love…but you have to love them and care for them and honor them. For the past three years, since I started the January Money Diet in 2013, I have gradually simplified our spaces. It’s amazing what three different yard sales can do! While I sympathize with Kimberly about selling something that is worth a lot for not much, I have also found that when my goal is to tidy my house, I don’t worry about how much the item went for once it’s gone. In the past three years we have made about $1200 by participating in our town’s annual yard sales. We then save every dollar we earn from our stuff into an envelope that is earmarked for a family trip – – we are hoping to travel cross country together in 2017 or 2018! Now that our spaces are cleaner, I am also less interested in bringing new things into our house…and therefore spending less! Thank you again Eliza! Here’s today’s blog post with a summary of recent related activities: http://www.ourhybridlives.com/at-home-in-january

  • Kimberly

    I had a friend die and it made me look hard at my life. What would happen if I died. My poor husband would have a mess on his hands. I am the stuff person and he isn’t. Since the beginning of December I have been trying to downsize some. I get upset when I try to sell something and people want to give you a dollar for what you paid a hundred for. I am finding it may not help much in getting money for land ( my goal for saving) but I would rather give it away then have someone buy it then resale.

  • Kim

    I have been downsizing and getting rid of stuff for a couple years now, my next project is to minimize my kitchen. I certainly don’t need 6 cookie sheets, 3 sets of pots & pans, 4 sets of dishes. Don’t need the drawer full of gadgets and electric sandwich maker that has never been used. It will feel great to free up the space and will be much easier to maintain. It just seems to be getting easier to toss the “STUFF”.

  • Lynn Louise

    I consciously try all the time and with most every purchase to ask myself “Do I really need this”? It has helped me leave behind so many potential purchases. I also try to take my time when buying things that we do need. I purchased a new rug for our living room right before Christmas. I spent quite a bit of time online looking at all the options and prices. There were a few that I picked right away but then after a few days I went back and looked again and was glad I hadn’t bought one of them as I found others that I liked better. Taking the time and not rushing in to a decision made me happier with my choice in the long run. Our yearly garage sale helps me weed out alot of items that otherwise would just be in storage and taking up space. Slowly I am editing the things in our home so the end result will be a cleaner more organized house that is also beautiful and comfortable.

  • Mila

    I divorced in 1987 and kept the house and all the stuff. Remarried a man who had his house and all his stuff. My parents and my husband’s parents both died, so we had to take their houses down and, of course, more stuff came into our home. I want to GET RID of STUFF!!

    • Tina

      Hi Mila
      It can be really tough to part with so much stuff which links us to the past. Past relationships, past lives but especially from family members who have passed on. Can I make a suggestion? In each room, just take out what you love, what represents YOU as the person you are today. Have an estate sale to remove all the rest. After the sale you will be lighter (less stuff) and a lot richer but best of all, the things you kept will have true meaning to you. If it’s too hard to go through everything, do so with a trusted friend who’ll keep you on course and won’t let you be side tracked down memory lane. Keep in mind why you are doing this, it’s so you and your hubby can live your own life together now. He will also nees to be onboard with this. I wish you all the best. God bless x

      • Tina, thank you for sharing your perspective and wonderful ideas. Mila, I wanted to add one more suggestion. When our dad died we were overwhelmed with all of the framed art and mementos that were so hard to part with. Our solution, after some time had passed, was to photograph and scan those items so we could still look at them and appreciate them from time to time. We can also share these things with other family members easily in e-mails and on social media. I do plan to make a bound photo book one of these days with some of those special photos inside. Good luck to you, and I am sending you positive thoughts and prayers about your heart’s desire to let stuff go and simplify. Hugs! xoxo Eliza

  • Julee

    I am very interested in the minimalistic way of living. To me its like a breath of fresh air. I want to let go of the lifestyle that society and people in my life have given to me. I long for a simpler less cluttered life, one that I can grow into the person I am destined to be.

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