Battling the Urge to “Keep Up With The Joneses”

source: hattie.stroud
For many people, the biggest obstacle to simple living is feeling like they have to justify their decisions to the people around them. Although I don’t get where this “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality comes from, I say that not with judgment or contempt but as someone who’s struggled with those feelings myself.

I think this is one of the reasons the internet has become such a powerful presence in our daily lives. While the people around us may think we’ve gone of our rockers for decluttering and simplifying – or really, for any of a hundred decisions we might make – we can always find someone in the blogosphere who shares our philosophy. I think even when we’re confident in the decisions we’re making for our families, it helps to know that someone else agrees with us.

Living simply is radical in today’s society.

The idea of minimizing the number of toys, clothes, gadgets and stuff you have is not a popular one. And despite your best intentions, it’s easy to fall into the trap of buying something because it’s the social norm.

When it comes to decorating our homes this is especially true. At our house, we love magazines like Dwell, and we often turn to catalogs such as CB2 and Pottery Barn for ideas. While most of the furniture and the fixtures in our home are actually from Ikea or handcrafted by my husband, we can find ourselves feeling like we need to spend $500 on a kitchen table (as opposed to the $85 picnic table we currently have and love) in order to have a beautiful home.

Please know that I’m not saying it’s wrong to buy expensive furniture or spend extra money on beautiful accessories.

If you can afford more expensive furnishings and they are things you truly love and appreciate – rather than things you feel you need to have to keep up with the Joneses – then by all means go for it. But there’s a difference between buying things we love and that enhance our lives and buying things just because everyone else on the block has one just like it.

If you’re looking for more information about minimalism and decluttering, Joshua Becker’s ebook, Simplify. 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Life, is packed full of information on the what, why and how of decluttering and simplifying.

Do you struggle with feelings of trying to keep up? What have you done to prevent impulse purchases motivated by these feelings?