I just recently started to get into minimalism. However, I never really liked the idea. It seemed to bother me that people would just throw away their stuff while others don’t have it. But since I tried it I realized what it’s really about: living your best life.
Firstly, I want to start with the one message that made me try minimalism: Minimalism does NOT mean getting rid of everything. It doesn’t even mean living with little. You can have a lot of things and still be a minimalist. It just means surrounding yourself with things you love.
Minimalism means surrounding yourself with the things you love.
I don’t remember the exact wording or where I read it, but this view was eye-opening. I always thought that by pursuing minimalism I had to throw away everything until I’m left with a blank canvas called my room, but that’s not it. You can still have sentimental items, things you just can’t throw away, or things that bring you joy and you don’t know why.
Of course, there are hardcore minimalists who ditch almost everything and that’s fine. If that’s what brings joy to them it’s perfect.
That’s why today I want to tell you about the many benefits of living with less, no matter how much stuff you really end up with.
#1 An organized space
The first one is kind of trivial, but with less stuff, you will actually end up with less clutter. Your room will be easier to clean and feel fresh. What I especially noticed since owning less, is that I know almost exactly where everything is.
I can tell you what I have in certain drawers and when looking for something that actually helps a lot. Also, a clear space will help you to maintain a clear mind.
#2 You learn to appreciate things
The moment I really realized that I have way too much stuff, was when I started decluttering. I decided to start with my desk and found things I didn’t even know I own.
When sorting out my necklaces, I actually found an old necklace I love and forgot about. It was hanging behind the ones I didn’t even wear anymore but still kept. I didn’t even remember buying it, but I love it and I am wearing it almost daily ever since.
Another necklace I found was actually hidden behind a drawer I decided to get rid of because I never really liked it. It was one of my favourite necklaces I actually do remember buying, but I thought I lost it about a year ago.
Seeing how much joy those necklaces bought me made me realize that owning more isn’t always better. Now that I just own the necklaces I really love, I appreciate them a lot more and also detangle and wear them regularly. Having less simply makes you care more.
#3 You are more productive
This benefit is actually a part of the first one and may not apply to everyone, but I always had a really messy room. My desk would always be the first room to end up completely cluttered. Everything I didn’t know where to put: I just placed it on my desk. My “do later pile” was literally stacking up for months and my space was shrinking with every new thing.
The most problematic aspect of this was that I wasn’t really able to use my desk anymore. Whenever I wanted to work on my desk, I would just go elsewhere, because there wasn’t even enough space for my laptop.
Other days I wouldn’t even feel like working anymore, or I’d start to clean up my room instead. It also had an impact on my mood and motivation. Whenever my room is clean and bright, I love to work and I am in a good mood. Whenever I have a lot to do or my room is a complete mess, my mind also gets messy and stressed and I have a hard time trying to concentrate.
#4 You save money
By buying less, or just the things that really make you happy, you will also save some money. And this is not a cheap trick to get you into minimalism. Seriously, do what you want, I just want to share my experience.
Anyways, I never really thought that I bought a lot of things. But my account balance was rapidly declining as I bought a lot of things like cheap clothing, make-up, some room decor and just simple small things I loved.
At home, I would go through all the things I bought and (ironically) sometimes even already forgot about. And it really adds up. A lot of small items can quickly turn into a huge investment. And even worse: you might get a little addicted to it.
Seriously, marketing campaigns always made me feel like THE SHIT when I had some new clothing item or make-up. I generally do believe selling products with a free boost of confidence as an extra is not a good thing – but I might talk about that another time.
#5 You save lives
This might sound pretty dramatic, but what’s really dramatic is that this is actually true. No exaggeration.
The clothing market is huge and with our consumerism, it just becomes bigger and bigger. Trends come and go faster than most of the people can catch up, but the big clothing brands will always make sure to sell the newest trend.
Sadly, that comes with a huge cost. Clothing is being produced in terrible conditions and sweatshops that put their workers in danger. People will be forced to work their hardest to produce at unbelievably high rates. Many women, men and children die due to a lack of security and the usage of chemical substances.
I am not that good at explaining, but it is devastating. If you want to find out more about it or find yourself in an H&M or Zara way too often, make sure to watch “The True Cost” on Netflix. It’s eye-opening.
#6 More room in a small space
An apartment or house is an expensive spending. If you own more stuff, you need a bigger one. With more things come more pieces of furniture like drawers, shelves and closets.
By reducing the furniture you also reduce the space you need in your apartment. That way you can live in a light and spacious room without spending a huge amount of money.
Also, with a small apartment, you don’t only save money, but cleaning (again) becomes a lot easier.
#7 Less stress
More things also mean more decisions and (if you’re bad with them like me) more stress. It all starts with the moment you have to get up and decide what to wear today. The infamous “I’ve got nothing to wear” while having a wardrobe full of clothes actually descends from owning too much.
When you have a ton of clothes in your closet you have a bigger choice to make. Especially when you don’t even like all of the things hanging in there any more that can be overwhelming. It just steals a lot of time and brings you in a bad mood.
Waking up to a maybe smaller closet full of things you love makes the decision easier. By loving every piece you won’t have that one single thing about every outfit you hate. You can wear whatever you feel like that day and be confident and happy in it.
Actually, famous entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs own multiples of the same shirt. This technique completely eliminates the task of choosing an outfit, so they can start to do what they love.
Of course, this doesn’t only apply to clothes. Everything we have too much of makes it harder for us to decide and therefore implements stress. Basically, eliminate your choices until you’re only left with the ones you want to make.
#8 You can earn money or help others
If you’re just starting your minimalism journey you might still own a lot of things. When decluttering your room you can sell your stuff online or on a flea market.
That way you can make some extra money off of the things you would otherwise throw away. Also, it makes it easier for you to get rid of the things you once loved but don’t use anymore. When you sell them they will get a new and loving home.
If you don’t feel like selling your things you can also give them to charity to help others. That way you won’t produce waste and even help other people.
Also, whenever I declutter something, I ask my friends whether they want or need anything. Your things will again not go to waste and you know that somebody needs and uses the things you gave away. So it also helps you to get rid of any guilty conscience about having bought something you don’t really need.
#9 It’s good for the environment
It’s hard to keep up with todays society. More is more. Owning more is not only some form of status, but it’s also most of the time inevitable. Due to today’s consumerism, we get bombarded with new trends and products.
Things are not meant to last long, but to give you a short rush of happiness. We are living in a throwaway culture, where everything we’ve been owning for too long becomes bland and boring and has to be replaced.
That has a massive impact on our environment. The production and then the consequences after throwing it away cause huge problems. Of course, things can’t be completely diminished. But by living with less and buying your things consciously you can improve your impact on the environment.
Here’s the cheesy part. I truly believe that owning less can make you happier and a better person. By spending less time blindly spending money on things, you can spend more time doing what you love.
You can eat out with your family, travel or meet friends. Also, when you know exactly what you have and need (without being blinded by the media) you realize that you already have a lot. Not feeling the urge to follow latest trends frees your mind.
Lastly, surrounding yourself with what you love creates a positive mindset for you to flourish in.