Today I had the great pleasure of catching up with one of my dear friends who has herself recently embarked on a minimalist journey. Whenever we get together, we usually spend a decent amount of time chatting through our real life tales from our respective adventures in simple living – sharing stories, swapping ideas and having a laugh over the minimalism fails and triumphs that we have experienced (more on my preliminary project 333 fail in a future blog!).
Like anything in life, the successes will be paired with the setbacks, but to me and many others, the benefits to pursuing a simple lifestyle far outweigh the challenges. In particular, the benefits of owning less continue to be one of the main motivations that steered me towards a minimalist lifestyle two years ago. To me, minimalism is a path to happiness paved with choices about what we consume and to what extent. These choices have a direct impact on the way we spend our time and our precious resources and as such, how much real value we can extract from each day we live.
In this blog I would like to share my 10 reasons to own less and live more.
1. Less physical clutter
This is the most logical positive consequence of owning less – if you physically have fewer items, you will physically have less clutter. A highly cluttered environment is associated with higher stress and anxiety, greater distraction, and is a magnet for dust and other airborne nasties. Objects hold a vibrational field and in particular, any objects with a negative association can be a magnet for continued negative energy within your self and your space. Time to let that stuff go.
2. Less upkeep and maintenance
When you own more things, you will need to spend time in managing them. This may be seen in the form of more straightforward dusting, cleaning or washing, or servicing and replacing parts on a larger scale. More often than not, the cost of buying that one object is not limited to that object – think of the upkeep of clothing, home goods and appliances, and even cars. The more you own, the more responsibility you own to maintain those objects and keep them in a presentable and functioning order.
3. Less stress
This one is obvious. Stress can stem from the time and money that you give away in buying and dealing with your ‘stuff’. It can also stem from the clutter you work around everyday in trying to live. On a less tangible level, there has been much discussion in the media recently about the subliminal stress of being ‘on the hunt’ for the next ‘big thing’ – we live in a consumer-driven world that has clever and strategic ways of inducing a scarcity hype in our hearts and minds. Our societal ‘hunt’ for ‘more’ creates a stress in our souls. Contentment with what we have, fortunately, is a beautiful antidote to this madness.
4. Less wasted time
How often have you misplaced something because it was lost in a sea of clutter? Or perhaps you have spent your precious time pondering over decisions that could have been much simpler if the choice came down to 2 or 3, instead of 9 or 10, items. An excellent example of this is in clothing – by owning less of it, getting ready to leave the house is much quicker. By owning fewer toys, there is less time spent cleaning the toy room and more time that can be spent on other value-adding activities. There are countless examples of the time-giving benefits to owning fewer possessions.
5. Less focus on your ‘image’
This is an interesting one. I have found that by making my wants few, I have moved away from a focus on consumer culture and moved towards an inner sense of contentment. Through this value shift and as I continue to more clearly see the tactics and messages of marketing and retail companies, I find myself becoming less easily drawn in by their advertising campaigns. If you stop to look and see, really see, the advertising messages that play to our insecurities, it can be startling how our decisions to purchase can be influenced by what we are told will bring us this quality, that status or this emotional satisfaction. It’s nice to care less about image and more about what makes me happy, even if it doesn’t fit with how everyone else is rolling.
6. More money
Again – a fairly intuitive one. Owning less means have traded money fewer times for goods. It is absolutely incredible to see how small purchases add up. You come home from the store intending to buy A but also buying B, C, D and E, and suddenly your bottom line is dismal. When you buy less, you protect that precious resource to put towards your future. This is not to say that being a minimalist means you will never spend money – of course you will. You will buy the goods you need, and probably spend more on experiences like travel and holidays. But even in light of these other considerations you will notice a drastic difference in your bank balance when you own fewer things.
7. More time
Time you can spend on value-adding activities like being with loved ones, seeing new places, exploring, travelling, tasting great food and wine, getting fit and moving your body, reading, writing, gardening, and whatever else may really float your boat.
8. More richness
Life takes on a definite ‘richness’ when you own less. When you shift the focus on ‘what to buy this week’, a sense of contentment can begin to settle in your soul. All of life’s most simple activities can take on a new beauty if you have an open heart and an open mind.
9. More focus and 10. More calm
When do you feel most at peace? I can guarantee it is not when you are surrounded by clutter. Your work space is a great example of the benefits of fewer things, but also think of the kitchen bench, the playroom, the bathroom sink, the garage. When you have less to move, to trip over or to take care of, you will be less distracted. Try it for yourself – clear all but necessary objects from your key spaces. When there is less distraction, there is more room to focus on what matters and this creates a channel for calm to flow.
What are your stand out benefits of owning less? If you are new to this journey, what do you hope to gain through owning fewer things? I would love to hear from you – leave me a comment below and let’s start a conversation.
Until next time – simplify, focus, pursue and count your blessings.
Photo Credit: The Contented Minimalist