A friend of a friend came over recently and asked for a tour of our house. She walked around curiously opening doors and peeking into drawers before stating, “You have everything you need and nothing more.” I would actually argue that we still have much more than we need, but I took her comment as the highest compliment.
Like many aspiring minimalists, I have done my best to edit our possessions down to what we truly use and love. This includes reducing our basement to a bag of outdoor pillows and seven airtight bins filled with my late father’s belongings. (More on that in a future post). It has taken a lot of time and energy to streamline to this extent, but the return on investment has been beyond worth it. Below I have summarized some of the many benefits we have experienced from choosing to live intentionally with less stuff:
Less Stuff, More Money
This goes without saying, but the less material items you buy, the more money you can save. This year I have made a concerted effort to splurge less on clothes, shoes, and housewares (my guilty pleasures!) so that I can invest more in other pursuits like self care, personal growth, and travel. My current goal is to save enough for our family to go abroad together this summer and I’m also saving for a solo trip to visit my brother in Japan. Every time I really want to buy a new pair of fancy jeans or a handbag, I think about these goals and how much more rewarding these experiences will be compared to the short-lived thrill of a new purchase.
Less Stuff, More Time
Consumerism is a major time suck. How much time do you spend in a given week shopping, trying things on, returning, or just thinking about what you want to buy? Oh, the countless hours I have wasted browsing online, shopping, and returning! When we take a break from shopping there is an opportunity to reclaim that time and invest it in other more important things. Who wants to join me for a spring spending-freeze challenge?
Less Stuff, More Order
Guess what? When you have less stuff you also have less clutter. Less clutter means less dust, less cleaning, less chaos. For this reason, each of my girls only owns two pairs of shoes: One for school and one for parties. I make sure they really like their shoes and they are well-made and comfortable. We store them in an open basket by the front door and have yet to lose or misplace a pair. Generally, I have noticed that the less we have, the less we lose and misplace things and the less we have to clean, store, and organize. It’s tempting to get frivolous with purchasing new clothes, housewares and toys, but I much prefer investing in fewer, high-quality things and taking very good care of them.
Less Stuff, More Connection
Shopping is a major buffer for many of us when we are lonely, restless, or down. Instead of pulling out the credit card next time you feel low, try connecting with an old friend, pursuing a hobby, working out, or spending quality time with the people you love.
Less Stuff, More Creativity
Have you ever noticed that children can spend hours playing with an oversized cardboard box, or building a fort out of the couch cushions? I believe that creativity needs space and with less stuff, comes more creativity.
If you are interested in streamlining your belongings and simplifying your life, but don’t know where or how to start, start small. Clean out a drawer, donate an outfit you no longer wear, or pass on the toys your children have grown out of. The most important thing is just to start.
Need some support getting started? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help.