There is a movement these days towards minimalism and the notion that less is more.
Increasingly, I have found this to be the case. My wife and I enjoy a clutter free home and don't hesitate to take things we no longer need to the Goodwill. I strive to keep my art studio well organized but free of unnecessary stuff.
My conception of the perfect, well designed art studio was inspired by the former studio of Scott L. Christensen. When I was back in Idaho studying with Scott I fell in love with his huge, craftsmen studio. Scott's big Hughes easel had a beautiful Wind River Arts craftsmen taboret desk in front of it.
You can see a picture of it here. Unlike many artists, Scott didn't place his paint brushes upright in containers but rather lay them down on cut out sections of his desk. As a result his painting area looked clean and free of clutter.
Simplicity and minimalism go beyond one's home and art studio. For many it has become a way of life. Take Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus for example. Both of these fellows quit their high paying corporate jobs while still in their early thirties in order to move to a cabin in Montana and become writers.
They had all the "trappings" of success, such as nice homes, cars, etc. But they were unhappy, stressed out, in debt and unfulfilled. They began to question what it really meant to live an authentic life. That led to selling their homes, cars and non essential stuff and downsizing. As a result, they were able to get out of debt, live more simply and focus on their passions more.
They began a hugely successful blog called "The Minimalists." Now they are published authors and making a good living off their speaking tour, blog and books. All because they sought simplicity in their lives.
Not everyone may be able to drop everything and downsize. We are all in different periods of our lives, whether in college, raising kids or retiring. But there is much to be gained in eliminating the unnecessary from your life. My father used to say, "do we own our things or do our things own us?"
I know a lot of people who appear "successful." They have big homes and drive BMW cars. And there's nothing wrong with that if it makes you happy. The problem is, some of these people are mortgaged to the hilt and lease those sports cars. They do it for the appearance and to feel successful, but deep down they are unhappy.
Movies, magazines and television promote this unrealistic world of perfect homes, perfect bodies and perfect lives. We marinate in a culture of "more, more, more." But it's a lie.
There's nothing wrong with being ambitious and acquiring nice things. The trick is to make sure you're doing it for your own happiness and not to impress others or fulfill someone else's expectations for you. It's surprising how many things you can let go of if you try. To get more, seek less.