Monday, August 16, 2010


Like a lot of people, we've been forced to learn to do more with less at my house, especially after my layoff almost 2 years ago now. And along the way I've gotten interested in some of the Buddhist/Eckhart Tolle thought regarding materialism. So this article from the New York Times was right up my alley. Maybe you'll get something from it as well.

This is just the beginning of it. Read the whole thing here.

It's long but well worth your time. Another reminder of some of the great reporting and writing that still comes out of the NYT.

But Will It Make You Happy?

SHE had so much.

Weekend Business: Tim O’Brien and Stephanie Rosenbloom on what makes consumers happy.
J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times

Roko Belic, a filmmaker, moved from San Francisco to a trailer park in Malibu and now surfs often. He is working on a documentary about happiness.

A two-bedroom apartment. Two cars. Enough wedding china to serve two dozen people.

Yet Tammy Strobel wasn’t happy. Working as a project manager with an investment management firm in Davis, Calif., and making about $40,000 a year, she was, as she put it, caught in the “work-spend treadmill.”

So one day she stepped off.

Inspired by books and blog entries about living simply, Ms. Strobel and her husband, Logan Smith, both 31, began donating some of their belongings to charity. As the months passed, out went stacks of sweaters, shoes, books, pots and pans, even the television after a trial separation during which it was relegated to a closet. Eventually, they got rid of their cars, too. Emboldened by a Web site that challenges consumers to live with just 100 personal items, Ms. Strobel winnowed down her wardrobe and toiletries to precisely that number.

Her mother called her crazy.

Today, three years after Ms. Strobel and Mr. Smith began downsizing, they live in Portland, Ore., in a spare, 400-square-foot studio with a nice-sized kitchen. Mr. Smith is completing a doctorate in physiology; Ms. Strobel happily works from home as a Web designer and freelance writer. She owns four plates, three pairs of shoes and two pots. With Mr. Smith in his final weeks of school, Ms. Strobel’s income of about $24,000 a year covers their bills. They are still car-free but have bikes. One other thing they no longer have: $30,000 of debt.

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