Where Has All The Middle Ground Gone?

tug_of_war_clipart9We live in a polarized world. Whether it’s politics, religions, gun control, or consumerism it appears that both sides see anyone in the middle as wrong and needs converting to their extreme way of thinking.

What happened to the middle ground where you can have different opinions on various subjects and not be made to feel guilty about it?

It feels like we’re in a constant tug of war!

Since this blog is about decluttering and simplifying I will be talking about how we are pulled from both sides regarding consumerism and minimalism.

The definition of consumerism is:

  1. The promotion of the consumer’s interest
  2. The theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable.

The definition of minimalism is:

  1. a style that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.


Most of us like to believe we fall somewhere in the middle.  But do we really?

I believe it’s a huge tug of war constantly pulling our mindsets from one side to the other.

Companies tell us we won’t be happy until we buy their products.  Economists tell us if we don’t buy products (consumerism) the economy will suffer.  So we buy products to avoid the guilt of tanking the economy.  Plus we buy into the belief that all our unhappiness will go away as soon as we own the latest and greatest product we are told would make us happy.

On the other side of the rope are the extreme minimalists, spiritualists, and even some home organizers, that tell us we can’t buy happiness.  We can only find it within ourselves, not a product. We can never experience our true selves if we are buried under our things.

So, if you got rid of most of your things would you feel happy or feel deprived?

What if you did your part to help the economy and went on a spending spree (whether you could afford it or not), would you find happiness in all those things?

I doubt either extreme will make you happy. Which means that the best place to find happiness just might be right in the middle.

I think it’s time to tune out both extremes and focus only on what your own middle ground would be.  It will be different for everyone but it really shouldn’t be too hard to find.  It’s a matter of carefully buying the basics (needs) plus the things that truly bring happiness into your life (wants).  It’s also a matter of getting rid of all those things that you don’t use, need, or do not currently add happiness to your life.  We all outgrow things that need to be decluttered from time to time.

We just replaced our 17 year old 32″ tube TV with a 46″ smart LED one in our family room.  It took two big men to carry that old TV out.  The new one along with a new stand makes the whole room look better.  That makes me happy every time I’m in the room.  We are enjoying the TV although we still haven’t figured out all the “smart” options.  In this case I helped out the economy and it made me happy.

I got rid of the old TV and stand. One in, one out. We bought the TV that fit our needs.  We could have gotten rid of the TV completely and not have one in this room at all.  But after a long day at work both my husband and I like to relax and watch old shows on Netflix. This was our middle ground.

As I said above, only you can decide at what point your middle ground is.  Don’t believe the manufacturers that try to convince you the only way you can be happy is to buy their products.  Nor should you believe that you can only find your true self if you let go of your worldly goods.

Right smack in the middle you will find some things can make your life easier and a lot more fun.  You will also find things in the middle that will hold you back and weigh you down if you don’t learn to let them go.  It’s a balancing act but you get to decide what works for you, not either extreme side.

To a lighter load along the way.