At What Point Is Enough, Enough?

What "enough" looks like for each of us is personal

Words by Carl Phillips

In a world where we are sold more of more, at what point does enough become enough?

This is a question I’ve pondered lots over the last several years.

In my initial foray into trying to live a simpler life, after years of chasing more, I tried the opposite and sought less. While less was a valuable entry point (and is a great place to start), at some point we reach enough.

We hit a point of diminished returns.

What enough looks like for each of us is personal.

My version of enough may look cluttered to some and stripped back to others. If it’s enough for me, and the people I share space with, that’s fine. Comparisons matter little to me these days.

Minimalism—Friend or Foe?

Minimalism, so often sold as the antidote to our modern cluttered lives, can take a strange turn. We see the hashtags and platitudes—“Less Is More”, “Pare Down” etc. I’ve used them to share articles (and no doubt will use them again). However, this can lead to an odd set of circumstances where we never feel like we have stripped back our lives enough. There’s always more that can be jettisoned.

Perhaps we strip back too far, and our lives become bare. We say no to life passions to conserve funds and become increasingly frugal, afraid to part with our money for just about anything. Life loses some sparkle.

In attempts to reach a set number of clothing items in our wardrobe, we go too far and throw out some of our favourite pieces. All in the name of reaching an artificial baseline that was never going to fit for us.

Is this what minimalism and living simply is all about? A race to zero. I think not.

Simple should never mean barren. Quite the opposite, we simplify to bring more colour into our lives.

We can ensure the balance does not tip too far by staying close to the following question:

What does enough look like for me?

While our answers to this question may change over time, we can live a life in accordance with our responses.

We can live a rich life filled with the things, experiences and people that matter most to us, that give us most back. Distraction-free for sure but not a sterile or monastic existence. That should never be the goal.

Not too little, not too much—there’s a power in enough.

Carl Phillips

Carl is a writer and runs Frictionless Living, a site about the pursuit of simplicity to help us focus on what matters most. It’s about finding clarity in distracted times.

Frictionless Living

Ready to Simplify?

Inside Minimalism is our series of exclusive essays on simple living. Each essay is written by our team of writers who are passionate about helping you craft a simpler life. Supported by their own personal experiences, we want to inspire and encourage you to clear the path of life’s stuff, so you can get to where you really want to be.

Subscribe for $30 /yr

Save 50% with an annual subscription