Less Is More in Home Staging, and in Life

I have been in real estate for 15 years now and I enjoy going on listing appointments. When I do go on a listing appointment, one of the first points I make to all of my sellers is this: buyers are always looking for space.

They are looking for space on the floors, the walls, and the counter tops. Removing carpet or furniture from a room will make it look bigger. Removing pictures from the walls makes the wall space look larger, and removing as much as possible from counter tops, vanities, and dressers will always make those areas look bigger as well.

Less is always more when it comes to home staging. But the “less is more” lesson also applies to how we live in general.

One evening while having this “reduction” conversation with a client, I had one of those “Aha!” moments. It came to me as I was daydreaming about my garden and how crowded it was last year after all that I planted sprouted.

The directions on the back of every gardening seed packet explains exactly how far apart to plant the seeds, but in my own stubbornness, I believed I could plant the vegetables closer together in order to harvest more.

As it turns out, the closer I planted the plants together the less each plant produced. That’s because the more you have planted in a given area, the more each plant drains the soil of its nutrients, making it harder for each individual plant to thrive.

So this year, I reduced the number of plants in each garden box, thus spreading them out so they had room to grow. Boom, my vegetable plants are producing much more than last year.

Less is always more!

As I caromed from this thought to the next, I applied the gardening lesson to life, specifically my life! Wow, I thought, if I simplified my life, then maybe I would have more of it, in other words, enjoy living my experiences more.

As a society, I believe we are all constantly striving for more — trying to be bigger, striving to be better or stronger. We think that the more we work, the more we’ll have, or the busier I am, the more I’ll accomplish.

People always seem to try harder to achieve more. But sometimes the answer is to stop trying so hard. You may find you accomplish more. This is not to say that we should not put effort into our actions, or intent into our thoughts, only that to focus on a finite list and concentrate on how to be best at it often ends up with the best — and most satisfying — results.

For instance, have you ever reached for a cup in the cabinet only to find the one you wanted is stuck inside another cup? You pull them both out and as you attempt to remove one cup from the other, the two feel glued to each other, or airtight so that they won’t separate. What do you do? The more you struggle to get the two unstuck, the more entrenched the one cup seems to be inside the other. At this point, we often let go, set them down, and sigh. We then pick up the cups again, and they detach themselves from one another. When this happens, you’re like wow, I should have eased up on those cups from the start.

Another example is trying to open a jar and getting it nowhere, then handing it off to the person next to you who opens it no problem. You always say, “I loosened it up for you, right? Well, no, the other person just didn’t fight with it like you did.

So, as I floated between these thoughts, and listened to myself giving my client the important less is more speech, I decided to heed my own advice. Less is more Rob, less is always more!

As I think about it, and granted, I’m fresh off vacation so I’m not pushing so hard, my advice is to make sure you take that sigh, relax that grip, space out your ambitions, and ease up on yourself so you can focus on the important matters. Then less will become more, and more will be plenty.