Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Less is More

It's an interesting statement isn't it - less is more. How can less be more? I've never been sure that I've agreed with it. But an interesting thing has been happening in our lives lately. As some of you already know (and some may not) we are going through a drought at the moment. This is our 3rd drought in 5 years which is unheard of around these parts. And it looks like it'll be our worst financial year ever since we've started farming. That makes it a hard hit given that we haven't made a profit in the past 5 years (the 2 years that weren't droughts we only barely made budget financially), and in fact have been slowly going backwards.

Before you get all depressed on our behalf, it's not all bad. :-) We made some reasonable decisions during some better years so we've had some off farm assets that we've been able to sell (no good having farming assets to sell at the moment as no one in farming has money to buy). Not enough to cover our losses but they will at least reduce our debt load some which reduces our stress levels.

As the year has worn on and we've seen our crop go from quite healthy to quite unhealthy (and in some places, completely dead), DH and I have had to seriously review where we stand in regards to wanting to continue farming and how we're going to handle our finances over the next couple of years (it's going to take us a while to get back on our feet financially). It's been an amazing time for us in terms of personal growth as we realise that what we really need in order to be happy is so much less than we ever thought we needed.

It's been like the less money we have, the more we recognise how much we truly do have. We do live in a blessed country in Australia. Most Australians don't really know what being deprived truly is. We've been the same in the past. If our car isn't as good as the next door neighbours or we can't afford to go to Queensland for a holiday, oh woe is us. And yet we have each other, we have 3 beautiful children, we have a home to live in and a cupboard full of food. The chances of us ever having to miss a meal are really quite slim.

These past few months I've also been slowly trying to declutter our home. It's not packed to the rafters or anything like that but we do have a tendency to accumulate more stuff than we really need. Most of what we've decluttered has been baby things (now that our youngest is almost 3) - cot, change table, baby toys, linen, clothing etc. Nothing too drastic. :-) But when the house isn't cluttered with stuff we don't love, it's so much easier to see and appreciate what we do have. I guess that's an example of "less is more".

Then of course there's my "use it up" challenge. Have you ever had the experience of going to a full freezer or cupboard and thinking "we have nothing to eat". It's a common problem for me. :-) I always thought it was because I didn't have the right thing on hand to "inspire" me. Now that my cupboards and freezer are getting lower in their contents, I'm finding it feels like we have more food than when they were overflowing. I'm guessing that the "there's nothing to eat" was a reaction to information overload and not really being able to tell what we had because of the clutter. Who'd have thought that food could be clutter too! Yet another example of "less is more".

So there you have it. Instead of thinking "we can't afford to buy .....", I'm now thinking more along the lines of "do I really want more stuff in the house?" It's a very freeing feeling and much easier to not spend money than simply trying not to because I feel we can't "afford" it. Perhaps there really is some truth to the statement "less is more" after all.


WendyC said...

and I can't resist the opportunity to mention www.preachermike.com as he has 3 great posts on this topic.

Great post, J!

Kez said...

Great thought-provoking post.