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I’ve never really liked “stuff.” I avoid buying “stuff” as much as possible. I’d much rather focus my time, energy, and dollars to doing something – an experience with my friends, a fancy dinner, a vacation, doing something fun with my nephew, and you see where I’m heading. I don’t often find a deep attachment to material objects. That doesn’t mean that I don’t find VALUE in material objects – because I certainly do. You get what you pay for – blah, blah, blah. But why buy something if you don’t need it or it doesn’t serve a specific purpose in your life?
I’m pretty intentional with the things I bring home and in the past year, that’s only gotten more intense. You learn a lot about what you really need when you’re living in the mountains for a whole summer! As a general rule in my apartment, I try not to have duplicates of anything. Example: I live alone. I don’t need two large glass baking dishes because I’m usually cooking for just one person. I don’t need 10 forks and so on and so forth. I don’t need twenty purses when a simple black handbag goes with all of my outfits. Get it? You might be thinking that I live in a barren apartment with nothing in it. That’s pretty far from the truth. I still have a couch, desk, TV, a piano, and a few strategic wall decorations. It’s far from barren and dismal in here.
That said, I’ve been a long time believer of “If I don’t/won’t use it at least once a month, I don’t really need it.” That is really the basis of most of my buying decisions and it’s led me to choose minimalism. Of course, some months are better than others when it comes to being a minimalist – example: holiday months. Think about it, stuff gets everywhere in those months – shopping, gifts received, food, etc. It’s not a perfect science and people can choose how they practice minimalism in their daily lives. Some people don’t get it, but I prefer the simplicity it brings.
Reasons I Choose Minimalism
Differences in How I Value My Time
Think about all the time you spend in your home or car. Time spent keeping it clean, organizing it, re-arranging it, etc. is the time that I would rather spend doing just about anything else. I hate cleaning. I hate chores. It’s simple logic that if you don’t have something, you don’t have to clean it.
With less stuff, comes less stress. See the above. Less stuff to clean. Less stuff to store. Less stuff to hide away if people are coming over. Less stuff that I “should” do. More time to do fun things. More room for better things like sunshine and happiness. Actual physical clutter can be exhausting, so, duh, less stress if you’ve got less physical junk to deal with.
Frugal & Eco-Conscious
I’ve always been frugal. I’d much rather skip on some items that aren’t crucial for my survival so that I can make better quality purchases at another time. Knick-knacky things that have no purpose other than just sitting on a shelf or hanging somewhere are really of no interest to me. However, things like a new computer or funds towards a savings goal I have do hold value for me. As far as being more eco-conscious, I’m a super recycler and I love repurposing items whenever I can. If I can repurpose or upcycle something, I’m potentially saving something from ending up in the dump. In short, if I can find another purpose for something that I already have, I don’t need more stuff to fix that situation. I can use what I have. And less stuff means less trash, which turns out to be better for the environment.
Experiences vs. Stuff
I’ll always say no to buying brand new stuff and direct that money towards a trip I’m taking instead. I don’t value having fancy things over new experiences. I’d much rather see a show or fly somewhere new than have another article of clothing in my closet.
Happiness Isn’t IN Any Item
I find happiness in relationships with people, being present where I am, and in feeling secure. All of those things are not provided or supported by having more stuff in my cabinets that I may use someday. It’s also not in sentimental objects. I do keep a few, but I’m mostly attached to the story or the memories invoked by that item – not the actual item itself.
I’m always in a state of trying to “own less.” Therefore, last month and this month, I’m playing the MINS Game. I chucked about 300ish items in December (I didn’t play the entire month) and if all goes well in January, I’ll be tossing/donating/selling 496 items. Yup, even though I’m already pretty good at this, I can always do better.
As The Minimalists say, “Sometimes the best way to grow is to subtract.” I fully subscribe to that philosophy, it works well for me! I definitely encourage you to check out their podcast – it’s pretty epic. Sometimes it’s live from their events or done in-studio, but it’s always full of some really impressive nuggets about people and their connection to material stuff. Worth a listen, for sure!
What do you think? Does “less is more” work for you? Have you ever tried minimalism? Yes or no? Why or why not?