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Why Owning Less Is Really More

After latkes and doughnuts, why not indulge in the gift of breathing space?


Chanukah is coming, along with gifts and a possible influx of stuff. After latkes and doughnuts, why not indulge in the gift of breathing space?

When you hear the term, “breathing space,” you might think of the standard definition, “an opportunity to pause, relax, or decide what to do next.” But what if we apply this concept to our space? What does it mean to apply breathing space to our space? Read on….

Owning and acquiring things can make you feel good in the moment. After all, who doesn’t want to have the latest gadget, the trendiest sweater or accessory? However, with each new thing attained, a new “home” is required for it. Whether it’s a conscious decision of putting it in a certain place, or it gets squished somewhere, things take up space.


Creating Breathing Space

A cluttered closet lends little opportunity for feeling peaceful while looking for something to wear. Rather, your time is spent wondering what’s under all the piles. Or maybe you missed something between two squished hangers.

Allowing space between hangers, only having short piles of T-shirts and sweaters, laying shoes out in pairs instead of piled in a heap, makes your clothes more visible and easily accessible. This creates breathing space in your closet.

Same goes for a cluttered bookcase. Only stack the shelves with what you have room for, don’t double stack books one in front of the other, and leave a magazine holder on the shelf for magazines or loose papers. Create a space for each category so there aren’t loose papers sticking out between books. This is creating breathing space on your bookshelf.

Or how about a desktop filled with half-finished work, old projects, or new toys? Creating breathing space means leaving your work surface as clear as possible, having a file for current projects, and a caddy for necessary supplies. Store the rest neatly in a drawer.

Own Less, Stress Less

Owning too much causes worry and stress, as we are not able to function properly in a disorderly setting. Our minds become overwhelmed, which can affect productivity and interfere with our inner calm. Additionally, owning more means worrying more about keeping track of all those things!

Applying the concept of “breathing space” alleviates stress by helping you find necessities easily. It eradicates the worry of caring for many items and eliminates all the wasted time you spend looking for those items.


The Process

To create breathing space in your environment, practice the following concepts:

Be mindful of what you allow into your space.

Clear out cluttered areas often.

Only collect things that you enjoy and use.

This process creates breathing space for stuff you already own and helps you gain space for more essential items in the future. Allowing your surfaces, closets, and living space to be clutter-free is to invest in yourself and your well-being, which is one of the greatest intangible gifts you can grant yourself.

Of course, enjoy new things and accept gifts from others. But this Chanukah, if you can’t think of items you actually need as gifts, try to invest in experiences rather than things. Think a spa experience, a day trip, or a magazine subscription.

After all, owning less is better than organizing more!


Miriam can be contacted through Teen Pages.

(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 888)

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