Tag Archives: Owning less


WHY THIS?  Friday means time for a Take A Break reminder.  Stepping back  keeps you emotionally strong. Emotional Fitness Training is about knowing when to step forward and when to step back.

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Feeling like you are being pulled down by things? All the media encourages buying.  Even I would like you to buy my E-books; at least they are electronic and take up space on your hard drive, not your book shelves.

I have moved 9 times during my adult life; I probably will have to move several more times.  Each time I moved, I let go of stuff;  by the time the next move came I had always acquired more stuff  than I left behind.  Moving from the Bronx to Colorado lead to a major getting rid of stuff.  But our garage is slowly filling up once again.

No, I’m not a major hoarder.  David is better at that; moreover, every time he suggests getting rid of stuff, it is my stuff he is talking about.

Anything not obviously trash in the a wastebasket gets a “Did you mean to throw this away?”

My mother always said silly questions deserve silly answers; so if having a bad mood day, I snarl my answer: “No, I meant to throw it at you and missed.”

Sharing keeps our marriage going, even the occasional sharing of insults.  Toughens us up.

Anyway, I read an article by Greg Mckeown called the Disciplined Pursuit of Less. He was writing for business managers;  if you read me, you know I think of parents as Power Leaders; all of us can from things successful businesses know and do.  One of my favorite parents books was Ken Blanchard’s The One Minute Manager. However, I degress. Back on track. 

Greg was talking about clarity in your life’s mission.  He points out that climbing ever higher on the ladder to success may not be wise.

Don’t know if you know Peter’s Principle?  I loved it early on when as an under thirty even as I moved into the older crowd.  As are so many have through out the ages,  I  worked under some pretty incompetent bosses.  Peter’s Principle claims that in the corporate world people are promoted to their level of incompetence.  Very true and very sad.

Anyway, Greg’s article is worth a read if you can spare the time,  but I’ve made the main point.  And again digressed.

The main point of this post is to  suggest that as you take a break this week end, think about not buying more stuff.


Considering our consumer oriented economy, curbing buying is an up hill fight. For parents of most teens the climb is a Mount Everest challenge.

Still,  I have mixed emotions about telling people not to buy.  I want those who have gobs of money to spend; moreover, I want them to pay top dollar, tip well, and give lots to charity.  I am not opposed to their paying higher taxes.  I think none of us should be taxed to the point of having to lower our life style.  So if you won the Power ball or inherited lots, live it up, but expect to pay more taxes then I do. Also, think of taking me along on one of your yacht cruises.  A cruise is one of the items I have not let dropped from my bucket list.

Anyway, even the rich would do well to take a day away from spending.  Of course, the really rich don’t do lots of hands-on  shopping, they have assistants who do most of that.  And I have digressed yet again.   Onward to some tips for parents.

Tip one: Don’t add, replace. This is an old one, but oldies are often goldies. Buying a new fur coat? Give the old one away. And yes, I know we do need a some things. But do you really need 100 pairs of tennis shorts?  I once saw that in a friend’s closet.  Does your kid really need all the stuffed animals she was ever given?  Well, if they are taking up more room in her bed than she is, draw the line.  Otherwise, you are creating a hoarder.

Tip two:  Delay.  Have wish lists posted on the refrigerator and if a kid asks for a new toy, add it to the list.   You can do a number of things with the list that will teach your children to wait and be rewarded for waiting: use it to get birthday presents, just because I love you presents, rewards, and reward for saving.

Have the kid cross off things he has not gotten that he no long wants. That teaches a lesson also. Delay your wants until the wants get separated from the needs. Then you can also cross off some items.

Tip three: Declare a “Family Good Riddance Day.”  Good means something that can be sold or given to someone who needs it.   Start with a Good Riddance dump spot.  Our garage is ours.  Having a garage sale, posting some stuff to sell on Craig’s list is low on my to do list, but it is there.  And periodically, I decide to make a donation of some of my Good Riddance Pile to Good Will.

Tip four:  Make one day a week a” No Cash Paid Out or Credit Cards Used Day.”  Make ice cream or pizza as a family event instead of heading out to a quick food joint.

Tip five: Remember what matters.  Here is a quote worth thinking about:

The man who has no money is poor, but one who has nothing but money is poorer. He only is rich who can enjoy without owning; he is poor who though he has millions is covetous.

Orison Swett Marden

The grammar checker says covetous should be replaced with greedy.  But covetous makes that this writer was doing his think way back when.  In the early 1900’s.  His wisdom lives on.

PRACTICE KINDNESS, like this post or share it.  I need all the caring I can get. Not only will you be helping me stay strong but perhaps a few others as well.

You will also be practicing one of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises and strengthening your emotional fitness.

Click here to view all Daily Emotional Fitness  Exercises.  If  regular practice of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises does not improve the quality of your life, more might be needed.  That is the time to think about therapy.

Good luck, life is a struggle, caring for children harder than you expect AND despite the struggle, life as a parent is also wonderful.