How Many Things Equals "Just Right"?


The Goldilocks Principle

The Goldilocks principle states that something
must fall within certain margins,
as opposed to reaching extremes.

The Goldilocks principle is derived from
a children's story "The Three Bears"
in which a little girl named Goldilocks finds a house
owned by three bears. Each bear has
their own preference of food, beds, etc.
After testing each of the three items,
Goldilocks determines that one of them
is always too much in one extreme (too hot, too large, etc.),
one is too much in the opposite extreme (too cold, too small, etc.),
and one is "just right".


I unexpectedly found this little tidbit of information about the Goldilocks Principle (see above) when I did a quick Google search on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

How fun that there is a scientific principle related to a fairy tale!

It turns out, the Goldilocks Principle is used in astrobiology, cognitive science, developmental psychology, economics, marketing, and medicine.

Who knew?

I love the idea of having things "just right."

And when it comes to our stuff, there is definitely a middle ground.

We can have too much stuff. Or we can go the opposite and have too little.

But what is just right?

In our homes, the Goldilocks Principle means having the stuff we need to live the lives we more and no less.

Take one simple example: kitchen knives.

How many kitchen knives allow you to live the life you love (and prepare the foods you love)?

On one end of the spectrum, would having thirty knives of different shapes, sizes, and functions help you love your life more? In some cases, the answer might be yes.

One the other end of the spectrum, would having one knife be too few? Or one knife of the wrong size? Or no knives but a bunch of spoons?

I will never forget reading Karen Kingston's book Clearing Clutter with Feng Shui and she talked about the people in Bali who often have only one household knife, and even five-year-old children know exactly how to use it for every conceivable need.

So I started experimenting in my own life to see what that "just right" middle ground is for me. I was shocked to discover that I could quite easily and happily find a middle ground that included a lot less stuff than I had previously thought I needed to live a full life.

(In case you're wondering, I have three knives: a large chef's knife, a small paring knife, and a serrated knife... and the one I use 99% of the time is the chef's knife.)

How about you?

In your life, how many (and what kind of) things = just right?

How about shampoo? Do you like having a variety? Do you prefer one kind that you really, really love? Do you like to change from time to time?

Or scissors... how many scissors does it take? How many is just right? Twelve "sorta sharp" pairs? One for each room? One good pair for paper and another for kitchen use... put in their specific places so you can always find them?


DVDs and CDs?

Books? (oooo, that's my biggie!)

Clothes, shoes, accessories?


The good news is that there is no right or wrong about what you keep in your own home... the Goldilocks Principle is about what what's "just right" for you.