Living Below your Means, Part 3

Dearly beloved, somehow this post got buried under "scheduled" post that never got published. Yikes! Only recent virtual convos with other fellow bloggers remind me of these ideas of living below means that I go back to again and again. As I wrote my comments on these lovely blogs, I have a deja vu feeling... did I already write about that before?

Without further ado, I hope these ideas will be useful and inspiring. All of us are work in progress, if we are done, we won't be here, right?

Mariah's Shoe Closet (from instyle.com)

Will this object improve the quality of my life?
If you can answer YES wholeheartedly and honestly to this question, then the object is worthy of your possession. Say, you want to purchase something, and you find yourself reasoning with the answer of this question, then wait a day, a week, a month, as long as you can. Most of the time, purchasing something does not really improve the quality of life -- it is quite the opposite: ownership of something, anything, comes with a burden of using, maintaining, storing, and eventually disposing the item, not to mention future opportunity lost because money spent in this particular item, right now. When you think of all that, every items you bring into your home adds up to that burden of ownership. If nothing else, they become background clutter of energy and things. Multiply that by 3,000 pairs of shoes that you owned, that is a lot of energy/time/money/space that you can possibly spend on something else. 
The more I appreciate objects that surround me, the stronger my resolve to only obtain and keep things of highest quality that I can afford, that will really add value to what I already own. Owning a few excellent things, rather than a lot of mediocre things, are quire liberating, not only in terms of space, cost, but most of all, peace of mind.
The opposite is also true, that when an object cease to add quality to your life, give yourself the permission to part with it. Objects, as anything else in life, are here to serve a purpose: maybe a blouse that your mom gave for your Birthday no longer suits you but you are reluctant to let it go. It is the memory that you hang on to, not the blouse -- the love of your mom somehow "materialized" into this ugly blouse that no longer adds value to your life. Cherish your memory and give thanks to your mom. Let go of the blouse and let it be a blessing for someone else instead of becoming a burden in your life.

Toyota Headquarter in Japan (from wikimedia commons)

Just in Case v.s. Just in Time
I heard this concept about "Just-in-Time" Toyota philosophy many years ago in college while studying economics. The idea is so simple but quite revolutionary in commercial goods industries. Why can't we apply the same concept to our life? Here's an inspiring article by Martha Beck about "Just in Time" application in real life.

My fellow blogger Bellyhead has put it so eloquently in her blog about buying "just in time" v.s. "just in case." Do I buy bulk/do I buy when there's sale even though I don't really need it? Or do I buy later when I really need it and pay full price for it? Sadly, I think we are a nation of "just in case" buyers. I buy this, just in case I need it, while there's a sale/coupon/... going on. That's why there's Costco, known for its BIG huge, giant package sizes of toilet papers, diapers, even smoked salmon. That's why we clip coupons and buy in bulk and rent a heated storage space somewhere so we can free up our garage spaces and buy more stuff to be stuffed in our garage, etc.

The opposite is actually quite true. By purchasing things "just in time" not only we eliminate the superfluous items that takes up the space of our home, we reduce the burden of ownership (see above). In return "just in time" mentality gives us so much freedom: freedom to choose how we will spend our money in the future, freedom from guilt of not using up things we don't use, freedom from waste, etc. etc. We will cherish and enjoy things that we own more because those things are the ones that we really, truly need and love to use everyday.

Patience and Forgiveness
When I was young, my piano teacher used to tell me that it was my own fault of not spending enough time practicing that I was not moving on with my lessons. And with such stern advice, am I a concert pianist now? Far from it..
Sounds familiar? Well, slip ups are bound to happen, after all we are only human. Remember this, and this? I tend to beat myself up/blame myself when things happen, but that will not solve any problem. Worse, it will make me feel even more guilty and bad and when I feel bad, I spend. Patience and forgiveness is the essential part of growing. Give yourself permission to make that mistake and the patience to practice the mindful ownership. Just like muscle, the more you use it, the easier it gets.

If you care to share any that resonates with you, I warmly invite you to do so.

P.S. For my readers who are makeup fans, some creative ideas of places that receive used-makeup donation: local women's shelter, high school/local drama/theatre production, even preschools/art schools/alternative schools (yes! Toddler's preschool accept makeup donation that they'll use for art project: melt lipsticks for making waxed-paper "stained glass," break shadows pigments for finger paintings, used makeup brushes, etc.). Most importantly, check with the school/institution that you plan to donate your items, many have certain rules/regulations.

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