Do you really need more stuff?

How to cut down on accumulating even more stuff and make do with what you have.

Last weekend we had some friends over for a braai (the South African barbeque). I have a modest kitchen with just a few essentials, however, when you have people over you realise that you may not have enough plates and spoons. My friend was cooking jollof rice and she asked for a specific spoon (one with holes in it).

I opened the drawer and showed her what I have. I didn’t have one with holes in it. I know in her house there is a spoon for every purpose. My other friend was making the salad and I didn’t have any salad dressing! It never crossed my mind to buy it, because I don’t normally use a salad dressing.

I know this may sound strange, but how can you miss something that you don’t even know you’re missing.

I do like things uncomplicated and simple. I have downsized my wardrobe (I am not at the magical 33 pieces yet), but I am just happy that I don’t have to look at that lbd that I was hoping to fit into again after 2 kids! I wear a lot of the same outfits to work and whether people notice or not, I don’t care.

My pair of brown suede boots was a staple this winter (for the 3rd season), but I just wasn’t going to spend money on a pair of shoes for our 3–4 month winter (yes I know we’re lucky)! And the 3 coats I have, have served me well. They are well worn and so comfortable.

Wearing the same few outfits interchangeably saves so much time in the morning. There is only 1 of 2 choices. Besides freeing up space physically and mentally, you are also saving money.

And there’s a greater benefit. I paid off my credit card the other day. After many years of trying to get it down to zero and even if I did, I would keep it open just for emergencies. Of course, before long it would be maxed out again.

Well, that day was the day. And boy was it a mission to just close it and tell the bank that you don’t need their money any more. I called the bank and was told I had to wait another day or two for their systems to be updated, to confirm that I now officially had a zero balance.

Because maybe, just maybe they could squeeze another bit of interest out of you. The next day I was put through from one assistant to another and then the question: “Ma’am why do you want to close your credit card?” Well, maybe because I don’t want any more debt? Like my husband says when you wake up, it’s your morning! He is much better with money and thankfully a few things rubbed off on me!

But, it took time. I cannot judge anyone who is not there yet, I was also blind for a long time. But when you finally see the light, man you wonder, where have I been? You can also get there. That is the great thing about life, no situation is permanent. When the student is ready, the teacher appears. The guidance will come from somewhere, but you have to be willing to take the first step. It’s mostly an individual journey.

As long as you are willing to make small sacrifices, incremental changes, then as surely as the sun comes up in the morning you, too, will arrive. I want to inspire you. It doesn’t matter that you wake up when you are 40 or 50 or 60, the fact is, you are not asleep anymore.

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