By Leigh Spicher, National Director of Design Studios
So we’re making our way through 2019, and if I read another blog on minimalism, I might not have any “stuff” left by the time we get to 2020. Let’s be clear…I am a big advocate of focusing on what’s important, less is more and everything Marie Kondo, but also believe that sometimes we (as humans) tend to go too far.
Can we just have a happy medium please? #experiencesnotthings, does not make me feel good about my Saturday shopping at Costco and I like a car full of wine (yes, I buy my wine at Costco), dog food and gallons of shampoo. I also have a weakness for Pottery Barn and anything home décor. I should also confess that; I like fashion and so do my 2 oldest daughters. My toddler loves balls, tutus and puzzles. My husband has a fondness for anything that has to do with camping or kayaking. In short, we like stuff.
I realize it’s very unpopular to talk about “stuff” in the name of slow living, minimalism and “Marie Kondo-ing” (she’s a verb now). Let me offer a counter point, more than our stuff…I enjoy the events and place in time this stuff provides. Wine on my back porch, while my kids bounce on the trampoline or pick potatoes from our garden are my most cherished days. Watching my teenage daughters navigate finding “the perfect jeans”, while the little one twirls around in her latest tutu are but a rite of passage for all of us. My husband is his happiest self out in the great outdoors. So you see? We need stuff. Yes, Need. Of course, these are not bare minimal, fundamental needs but things we’ve come to enjoy so let’s talk about the happy medium. I call it, mediumism. Not too extreme in either direction. Think Goldie Locks.
There are 3 ways to make Mediumism work in your life:
Accept the Mess
My neighbor has a door mat, that I love, and it simply states: “Excuse the mess. But we live here”. I need this in my life. We all need to accept that life is not a Pinterest board and not perfect. It’s messy and chaotic. Mediumism comes into play when you temporarily ignore the mess and stay present through whatever activity is causing it. Your family or guests will not remember you swiftly cleaned up the kitchen, but they will remember how you made them laugh, sharing stories long after the meal was over.
Photo Source: Etsy
The Compromise Effect
There is a marketing theory that’s called the compromise effect. This means consumers tend to purchase the middle item in a set of goods. Think about shopping at the grocery store. You are staring at 3 brands of peanut butter. Same size jar but different brands are slightly different prices. Do you tend to pick the cheapest or could there be a reason that the middle price is a smidge better? No one picks the highest price peanut butter, because that’s just crazy. The compromise effect or Mediumism is just reasonable. You can use the compromise effect in your own life as you work towards a Mediumistic lifestyle. You don’t have to be extreme, throw out or donate everything in your home. I mean, I almost got rid of our Christmas tree a few weeks ago, because I was feeling the need to purge our home of stuff. Luckily, I thought of the compromise effect. I can keep my dusty Christmas tree, but perhaps sort and donate several bins of old ornaments that someone else could enjoy. See, compromise?
Photo Source: NPR
You may be better at this than me but this year, I’m dedicated to sharing the chore load around my house. I’m a total mother hen, and I love to run around making everyone happy…sometimes at my own expense. I’m all….no, no you just hang out there and watch TV or take a nap while I do dishes, take the trash out or fold all your laundry. Why? Because I love to do nice things for the people in my home, but I’ve discovered I need help managing all the stuff, so this year I delegate chores in the name of Mediumism. I don’t have to do it all, but I don’t have to sit around doing nothing either. Mediumism.
Mediumism. So now you know. It’s ok to have some stuff, a little clutter and to cherish your “back porch” moments that happen so fast.