Day 20: Consuming Simplicity

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is buying one’s way to minimalism. Magazines want you to simplify your life by purchasing this New! Fantastic! organizational gimmick, or to (like I touched on in my last post) replace all of your current, inefficient belongings with new, simpler, better belongings.

Just take a look at, for instance, this set of images from Martha Stewart.

So beautiful! So simple! So expensive!

It isn’t too hard to resist Martha–after all, all but the most die-hard of her fans are often off-put by her excess–but the temptation is always there. When we think about organizing the closet, we think about buying boxes. When we think about cleaning out the pantry, we think about new canisters and bins. There are entire stores devoted to “helping” you with expensive closet racks and shelves.

The truth is, as we all know, that you can’t organize away too-muchness. Owning too many things is owning too many things, pretty boxes or no.

The trick to it is that sometimes those bins/boxes/shelves really are darned handy. My pantry wouldn’t work half so well without some under-shelf baskets. My spice cabinet is terrible even after an extra shelf, and really needs a door-mounted rack. It’s a line that needs constant policing for me, though. It’s easy to think that a box/shelf/label/cabinet can save you, when, at best, it can buy you a little time. But at what price?

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