I pondered what to write for my contribution to Zen Tip Tuesday with Min from Write of the Middle, then my daughter sent me an email with a link to an article by James Clear and I found my topic for this week. I then stumbled across another post 12 Essential Rules to Live More Like a Zen Monk. Isn’t is lovely how serendipity works sometimes.
Decluttering and downsizing has become the latest ‘must dos’ in our endeavours to find happiness in our life. Who hasn’t watched at least one episode of Mary Kondo and immediately started tidying up!
I know when I was recently decluttering my MIL’s home and my own possessions it felt like a bottomless pit. Just when I thought there was nothing more to give away or dispose of, more items seemed to appear.
We promise ourselves we will live more of a minimalist lifestyle but how long do our good intentions last? Which brings me to the topic in the article Rachel sent me.
Have you heard of the Diderot Effect?
I hadn’t until I read James’ article:
The Diderot Effect: Why We Want Things We Don’t Need — And What to Do About It
The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things. As a result, we end up buying things that our previous selves never needed to feel happy or fulfilled.
Overcoming the Didero Effect – Live Simply
James Clear author of Atomic Habits, is the creator of Habits Academy and also a photographer. In his article, James explains what the Didero Effect is and how we all fall into the trap of reactive purchases. Buying things that we don’t necessarily need . Quoting some examples from his post:
I recently bought a new car and I ended up purchasing all sorts of additional things to go inside it. I bought a tire pressure gauge, a car charger for my cell phone, an extra umbrella, a first aid kit, a pocket knife, a flashlight, emergency blankets, and even a seatbelt cutting tool.
You buy a new couch and suddenly you’re questioning the layout of your entire living room. Those chairs? That coffee table? That rug? They all gotta go.
You buy a new dress and now you have to get shoes and earrings to match.
Any of the above sound familiar? Perhaps you have other examples you can give.
So how do we overcome the urge to keep purchasing and accumulating?
James details 6 ways we can master the Diderot Effect
- Reduce exposure by recognising the cues or triggers
- Buy items that fit your current system – buy the dress but see what accessories you have in your wardrobe that can be worn with the new dress.
- Set self-imposed limits and live a carefully constrained life
- Buy One Give One – each time you purchase something give one thing away
- Go one month without buying something new
- Let go of wanting things