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We live in a culture that is obsessed with accumulating more. It’s a status symbol to keep up with the Joneses, have all the latest gadgets, a big home, a nice car and all the material possessions one could ask for. But, a lot can be said for living differently than the status quot. Living a minimalist lifestyle, with less material belongings can have a lot of benefits.
My family and I are continually trying to reduce what we have. It’s a struggle to say the least. Having children and minimizing toys is a struggle all in of itself. Especially when the weather is less than cooperative and it’s 40 below outside in the winter. But, as we struggle, we also continue to work toward a simpler way of life with more things. And we notice the changes it causes. Living minimally is life-changing and creates a domino effect of being more satisfied with life. Consider these 10 benefits of living a minimalist lifestyle.
10 Benefits of Minimalism
1. You’re Happier
You don’t notice how much the things you own that clutter up your life bog you down, but they do. They sit on the shelves and clutter up your space. They add to a never-ending to-do list that steals your joy. There is nothing in life you can buy that will make you happy, not one thing can you purchase that will add joy to your life. But, by having less, I find that we are happier and find it easier to find joy in the everyday instead of all of the material belongings we have taking up space in our lives and our minds.
2. More Time for Meaningful Things
All the things we own bog us down. They take our time and attention, whether we realize it or not. Maybe it’s just dusting them off once in a while, but they still take up time in our lives that we could be doing something else. If you have less stuff, you have more time for doing things that are important. You’re not constantly cleaning, organizing, sorting and searching. It frees up time for you to do things you enjoy with those you enjoy spending that time with.
3. You Live more in “The Now”
The past is a wonderful place to visit. I enjoy telling my children stories about my childhood, and consequently my mom, to reminisce and honor the memory of my mother. But, the past is not a nice place to dwell. It seems to me the more things we have sitting around from the past, the more we seem to dwell there and leave no room for the present (or the future). Keeping sentimental items can be nice. But often we have clutter from the past that we have no attachment to whatsoever. We might need it, we’ve used it in the past, it might be beneficial. By keeping these things, we leave no room for anything new and tend to sit in yesteryears reminiscing and find no new way. This isn’t good or healthy. Getting rid of all that excess clutter from the past helps you be more present in the time and in your life.
Related Reading: How to Easily Let go Of Sentimental Things Without Overwhelm
4. It’s Easier to Clean
This is a no-brainer. The less stuff you have, the easier it is to clean. Less things to move to dust, less things to put away, less taking up space and making it hard to tidy up. The sheer amount of stuff can make it a daunting task to do any cleaning at all. I know when my kids start accumulating too many toys, they’ll sit and freeze up and not want to clean up their mess. We’re all that way. The task just seems to daunting when there’s too much stuff involved. Live with less, clean in less time.
5. Spend Less
It never ceases to amaze me, when you reduce the amount of belongings you have, you spend less money. You need less space to store them, less money to repair them, less time to clean them (and less cleaning supplies). You will quickly find that if you reduce the amount of belongings you possess, you’ll start having more money to use toward financial freedom and more meaningful things like experiences. Whether we realize it or not, when we have an excess in things, we spend an excess in money.
6. You’ll Appreciate More
The call to own more and keep up with the Joneses is real. And it creates devastating feelings. We often compare ourselves and our belongings to those around us and those we see portrayed on media. None of this is healthy, nor helpful, but our society seems to call us to do it. We feel like we’re missing out if we don’t have the latest gadget or the coolest clothes, or the nicest car. And it keeps us from appreciating all that we do have, whether we realize it or not. But, when you begin to minimize and live with less, that comparison stops and you simply don’t care what the neighbors have anymore. It allows you to open up your mind and be thankful for all that you do have, and it’s not all just stuff, either.
7. More Freedom
This surprises a lot of us. We think that the stuff is just taking up our time and money. But, the truth is, stuff weighs us down. We often worry about losing it, we worry about accumulating more of it. Living with less stuff gives you so much freedom. You’re no longer weighed down by the time it takes away, the money it costs, the comparison games it makes your mind play, or the work you have to do just to maintain it all. You’ll be so much more free to live your life the way you want to live it instead of being tied down to keeping all that stuff in tip-top shape.
8. Less Stress
The simple act of seeing all of our stuff cluttering up shelves, shoved into cabinets and closets stressed me out unbelievably. What do I do with it all? Where do I put it? I hate looking at it all just cluttering up the shelves and being in the way, it’s not attractive at all, it’s just too much stuff. It would stress me out. I needed to clean it, organize it, and a million other things that would overwhelm me and clutter up my mind. Let go of all that excess and …. it’s like a whole different world! I’m a lot more calm and less stressed now than I ever was when we had all that stuff cluttering up the house (and consequently, my mind).
9. You’ll Be More Confident
This one surprised me. How could not having stuff make me feel more confident? Part of it is because I was able to stop comparing myself to everyone else. I could be my own individual instead of worrying about what someone else had and what they thought about what I had. Part of it is because it opened up a world of less consumerism and more self-reliance and self sufficiency.
10. You’ll Have a Clearer Purpose
I’m listing this last, but this is the biggest change my life has had when we started minimizing. We still have such a long ways to go on this journey to living with less, but I find that as we continue moving toward our ultimate goals, my purpose becomes a lot more clearer. For the longest time I thought that letting go of these things would change my life in some poor fashion. If my kids didn’t have this toy or that, they wouldn’t have a good childhood. I was tied to these things in so many ways, stuff defined my life. Now, I realize that my life doesn’t revolve around these things at all and who I am, and who we are, and what we are meant to do becomes more and more clear every day.
It’s amazing that as you begin to take the focus away from your belongings and move it more toward your life and the experiences you can create how much it changes you life. A great life is filled with memories, not stuff, and you’ll find as you begin (and continue) to minimize that stuff how much richer your life truly is.
What benefits have you found from minimalism?
Other Minimalism Posts You’ll Love:
- 32 Tips on Becoming a Minimalist
- How to Downsize: 9 Tips to Live Smaller
- How to Declutter Toys: A Minimalist Approach