We live in a society that encourages us to constantly accumulate more things, and to spend our money on items that we can show off to the people in our lives.
But at the end of the day, is it worth it?
Is life all about seeing who can collect the most stuff, or is there something to be said for adopting a more minimalistic approach to material possessions?
CAN LIVING WITH LESS MAKE YOU HAPPIER?
It has been suggested in minimalism that learning to live with less can actually make us happier.
This logic almost seems to be at odds with the message we hear from culture, which tells us that the more we own, the happier we will be.
But when you think about it, it starts to make sense.
After all, the more we possess, the more we have to maintain. The more possessions we own, the more of our time, money, and energy we devote to keeping those things intact and even accumulating more of them. It becomes almost like an addiction, a vicious cycle.
The idea that living with less can make us happier is the polar opposite of every commercial and advertisement we observe on television, on the radio, in magazines, and on the internet. It is a bold statement that flies in the face of mass consumerism.
But maybe in spite of all the conflicting messages, simplicity really is the way to go.
WHY IS LIVING WITH LESS BETTER?
Simply put, we are distracted by our stuff and by the forces that drive us to accumulate it.
Think about it: how many hours do you spend working just so that you can afford more things?
How much time do you spend away from family and friends because you’re busy playing with a new toy or gadget you’ve recently purchased?
How much of your free time do you spend cleaning, moving, organizing, and re-organizing all your stuff?
How many times have you made a conscious effort to declutter and get rid of some of your stuff, only to end up replacing it with more stuff?
Think about the last time you moved, for example.
Do you remember all the things you found while going through your house, that you forgot you even had?
Do you remember trying to pack everything into boxes, only to have to dig it out at the new house, unpack it, and find a new home for it there?
Do you maybe even remember thinking that you wish you didn’t have quite so much stuff, because it would have made your life so much easier?
Maybe there is something to the mentality that simplicity is better and that minimalism makes us happier.
It is definitely an idea worth considering and exploring, because one thing is for sure – accumulating tons of things sure isn’t making us as happy as we thought it would! Here are 21 Benefits of living with less:
21 BENEFITS OF LIVING WITH LESS
1- You can focus on the things you value most
When your house is filled with stuff, the items in your life that have real meaning tend to get lost in the shuffle.
If your eyes don’t even know where to land when you walk into your living room, because everything is so cluttered and your belongings are everywhere, you lose the ability to display the items you value most.
Perhaps you’d like to show off pictures of your family, or keepsakes from relatives who have passed away.
Give these valuable items prime real estate in your home by getting rid of some of the clutter, so that your most prized possessions can garner the attention they deserve.
2- You can live a more compact lifestyle
Go back to your memories about the last time you moved – how much easier would it have been if you had been living a simple, minimalistic lifestyle?
Packing would have been a lot easier if you only had to move 10 pairs of shoes rather than 50 pairs, or if you didn’t have 45 boxes devoted to random stuff you found as you were going through closets.
Living with less frees you up to move around, travel more, and be portable and compact. You never know when that might come in handy!
3- You can find things more easily
If your house is filled with stuff, that sure does make it harder to find the things you need.
But if you make it a point to get rid of clutter and give every item a home, it will be a lot less hectic when you need to look for things you haven’t used in a while.
4- You can relax more often
Think about how much more time you can spend relaxing if you don’t have to constantly go through your stuff, or clean it, or organize it, or sift through piles of it in search of other things?
The less you own, the fewer chores you’ll have dominating your schedule, and the more time you can spend relaxing and doing things you actually enjoy.
5- You won’t feel tied to the past
Did you ever come across a keepsake from a past relationship, and being forced to remember the person who hurt you made you feel angry?
Or perhaps it brought up old feelings you didn’t want to contend with at the moment.
When you haven’t decluttered in a while, chances are you have a lot of stuff from previous chapters of your life that you no longer need or even want.
If you’re in the habit of getting rid of old stuff regularly, you can avoid run-ins with unpleasant memories.
6- Your space will be more visually appealing
If you ever scroll through pictures of well curated homes, there is a common denominator: the photos all represent homes that are well decorated and not cluttered.
They have just enough stuff to provide stylish visual appeal, but you don’t feel like you want to attack the room with a giant garbage bag.
With less stuff, your space will be more visually appealing – both to yourself and to your guests.
7- You’ll feel less stressed
There is definitely a connection between having less stuff and feeling less stressed.
After all the more stuff you have, the more time you have to spend thinking about it.
Nothing says “peace of mind” like a minimalistic lifestyle, where you only have what you need and you know exactly where all of it is at any given time.
8- You’ll be less tempted to compare
When you reject the materialistic focus that culture tries to push, you’ll automatically spend less time comparing yourself to others, and you’ll feel less tempted to compete.
There’s nothing like shaking off the pressure of keeping up with the Joneses.
9- You can do the work you love
Think of how many people work long hours, or work jobs they don’t really like, just so they can afford to buy lots of cool stuff.
Having less stuff and detaching yourself from the materialistic worldview can free you up to work a job you love, or to work fewer hours, because you won’t have as many expenses to keep up with.
10- You’ll feel light and refreshed
Think about the last time you really cleaned even just room of your house.
Or maybe you went through your closet and got rid of everything you hadn’t worn in a year.
Do you remember how light and refreshed you felt?
You can feel that way all the time when you commit to living with less.
11- You can own higher quality items
If you’re spending less money on having a large quantity of items, you can invest in higher quality items.
Rather than having 10 cheap purses, you can save up and buy one really nice one.
Or instead of having a house full of junk, you can save up and get that new flatscreen TV you’ve been eyeing up in the store.
12- You’ll be in control of your money
Resisting the impulse to buy lots of things trains your brain to break its materialistic habits.
Before you know it, you’ll have all this money sitting in your bank account that previously would have been spent on random clutter.
The fun part is deciding what you want to do with it now that you’re in control.
13- You can support causes you care about
One of the things you might decide to do with all your excess money is to give back to a cause that is meaningful to you.
Now that you’re living with only the things you need, you can be a real contributor toward a cause or initiative that you believe in, which is way more valuable than another vase or necklace.
14- You’ll set a positive example
By teaching yourself to live with less and getting in better control of your finances, you’ll be setting a great example for those around you.
This especially applies if you have kids or plan to have them, as our kids observe way more about our habits than we realize.
But even if you don’t have children looking up to you, you might find out that you’ve inspired your partner or a relative or friend into a healthier, happier lifestyle by modeling simplicity.
15- You’ll be more productive
Not only will living with less result in you having more money for other things, but you’ll also notice that you’ll have more time on your hands when you don’t have to spend it shopping, cleaning, and organizing.
Once again, the fun part is deciding what to do with all that time now that you’re in control of it!
16- You’ll be helping the environment
It is actually better for the environment when you decide to live with less. It decreases your footprint and drastically reduces the amount of waste you create.
Not to mention, you’re contributing less to the air pollution problem now that you’re not driving back and forth from the mall as much!
17- You’ll enjoy more freedom
Living with less gives you more freedom. Not only does it free up time, money, and resources that would have been spent, but it also allows you to feel more free.
Additionally, living simply means you’re at a much lower risk of accumulating significant debt, which will really give you that sense of freedom you’ve been craving.
18- You’ll spend less time cleaning
If you have to clean, pay attention to, or maintain each of your belongings in some way, then it sure does make sense to keep fewer belongings around.
Just think about all the time you would spend dusting all your little knick-knacks, and that should give you enough motivation to do a complete overhaul.
19- You can invest more in experiences
One of the things you can do with all the money you save is to invest in experiences that you will remember and cherish for years to come.
If you’re into traveling, save up for a nice trip. Or maybe you just want a weekend away with your family.
Either way, experiences like these will be worth way more than another gadget.
20- You can spend more time with family
Having less stuff, and spending less time working to afford said stuff, will allow you much more uninterrupted time with your friends, family, and other loved ones.
In the end, this is what will bring you ultimate fulfillment, and these are the moments you will look back on wishing you’d had more of.
21- You’ll be less focused on material things
Overall, this is not just about cleaning your home and throwing things away – it’s about a shift in mentality from putting your value in material goods, to realizing that happiness comes from other sources.
Once you get into the habit of living with less, your whole mentality will slowly shift into one that is more wholesome, more healthy, and more likely to bring you peace and satisfaction.
HOW TO START LIVING WITH LESS
So how do you begin living with less? A good first step would be to go through the rooms of your home and begin getting rid of things you don’t need.
For example, go through your closet and donate anything you haven’t worn in a year or more.
As you go through the rest of your house, get rid of anything broken, anything you don’t use regularly, or anything that doesn’t have a home.
As you begin this process, you will notice yourself feeling more motivated to decrease the clutter around you, and you will see yourself catching on to which items you should eliminate.
The key is to be patient with yourself as you adopt this new lifestyle.
As with any lifestyle change, the adjustment may take time, so don’t feel pressured to do it perfectly all at once.
Remember that you have plenty of time to get to where you need to be, and right now you are focusing on taking the first crucial steps.
CHOOSING TO LIVE WITH LESS
It is a conscious choice to live with less in a culture that tells us we need to keep accumulating more.
But as much as it may seem like a countercultural choice, many would argue that minimalism is a choice that ultimately leads to peace, fulfillment, and happiness.
What inspires you to live with less? Share in the comments below!