Do you remember the final scene in Fight Club? The scene where they are standing at the top of the high-rise having a conversation and he keeps telling her that it is all going to be alright? Watching it, you feel content, almost like what you are viewing is happening in slow motion, but then all of a sudden, this massive juxtaposition happens and everything around them is exploding in the most beautiful way possible. Before the buildings collapse, The Narrator turns to Marlo and says, "You met me at a very strange time in my life." Then the song, "Where Is My Mind" by The Pixies starts blazing. I love this film; its themes, its meanings, its vulnerability. I love how the two main characters are such polar opposites- the narrator, who is addicted to buying useless items that crowd his life, in attempt to live, what is supposedly, a "normal" life. Then you have Tyler, who is essentially homeless and doesn't care about anything materialistic.
A book that I really have enjoyed lately is by Barry Schwartz called, "The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less". Schwartz explains how too many options can lead, not to liberation, but to dissatisfaction. He talks about why decision making in todays world, is much more difficult than it was thirty years ago, and he offers many different suggestions that allow for you to create simplicity throughout your life that will ultimately lead you to greater happiness.
Schwartz spends a great deal of time explaining how humans make choices. He divides people into two different groups, the Maximizers and the Satisficers. Maximizers are the people that try to make the best possible choice out of an increasing amount of options, want the best that life can offer and will search to the end of the world to find it, while on the contrary, Satisficers are the people that just settle for the first choice that meets their standards and think it is simply, good enough. Maximizers will always be stressed out and seeking more and Satisficers will attend to their needs quickly, even if its not the best option for them. He also discusses about why some people are always happy with their choices and others are never happy with their choices. Therefore, Schwartz comes to the conclusion that the root of happiness is not based on choice and money, but on knowing what you want and getting it.
As someone that has an vast wardrobe and values quality versus quantity, I can't say that I would ever be the one to settle for something, because it does the job of satisfying my need at this point in time. I do however, think that there is something valuable in simplicity. When I moved out of NYC pre-Shanghai, I really separated myself from a lot of items. After I got back, I purged myself of many other things that just weren't necessary. I do have a ridiculously large wardrobe still (blame it on the fact that my mother and I wear the same size in everything and have the same taste), but I am trying to trim it down and only buy pieces that I absolutely adore.