Posted August 31, 2010 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

In last month’s O Magazine, Martha Beck (my absolute favorite writer) wrote an article called “The Joy Dividend.” In it, she broke down shopping and money into

  • I need it and I LOVE it
  • I don’t need it, but I LOVE it
  • I need it, but I don’t love it
  • I don’t need it and I don’t love it

Martha’s theory is that you should spend your “budgeted” money on things you both need and LOVE (and yes, LOVE in capital letters is important. You really have to LOVE it.) Then, spend the next tier of your “budgeted” money on things you need, but don’t love. I mean, really, can you LOVE your toothpaste. And finally, when you have money leftover – fun money – spend it only on things you LOVE, but not necessarily need. That fabulous dress, a great pair of shoes, a bag, etc.

For me, this was great financial advice. But it’s also great advice when it comes to downsizing and clutter. In the anticipation of the fact that Twitter Guy and I will have to downsize very soon, I’m beginning to look at my home in a very different way. As I’m deciding whether to donate, sell, toss, I’m asking myself these questions over and over again. Do I need this? Maybe. Maybe not. Do I LOVE this? That answers the question.

Case in point:

My husband and I generally agree on “chotchkies” – we don’t like unnecessary crap hanging around our counters. But every now and again, I LOVE something that could fit in the “chotchky” department. My mother bought me a decorative plate years ago that says “nibble.” And while I understand it’s a chotchky, I absolutely love it. It’s me, it’s cute, and it sits on my china hutch. It’s adorable. I don’t need it, but damnit, I LOVE it.

So I’m going to keep moving on my downsizing notion – I have to need it, and I have to LOVE it.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."