No doubt you’ve heard the expression – less is more.
Debatable whether the expression applies to ALL situations in life, but it certainly applies when it comes to your home and material possessions.
I’ve always been one to keep things, to hold onto material stuff, attach sentimentality and emotions to my possessions.
I remember losing a doll and a monkey that used to dance when you plugged your iPhone into it – completely gutted and no idea where they went, just lost, gone.
I was utterly gutted, felt so angry and upset that I couldn’t remember what happened to them and I really, seriously wanted them back in my life, otherwise my life was somewhat incomplete.
I’m an emotional person so I attach memories to things as well – I have a memory box full of little things I took from holidays, special days, even champagne corks from memorable days.
Does the thing really matter that much? I keep them because I think it would be cool for the next generations to one day discover my memory box and be like “wow, this is our great, great grandmother’s box of special things, so cool!”
Which I guess would be a great memento for future generations – what about me and this generation? Is having all these things helping me in any way?
I am fully aware of the memories I made, I have photographs to look back on so do I need the things to also remember those days?
I guess it makes it feel nice, sure – doesn’t harm anyone and they are memorable items that I’ll never be able to replace.
The problem with attaching emotion to things, is when it’s unimportant, materialistic items – like your chair, or a mug (unless it’s one that’s been passed on from generations and has deeper value to you).
If less is more, how much less should we actually possess?
What Does Minimalism mean?
Minimalism is simply living with less materialistic stuff, having less stuff in your home, enjoying an empty space for a clearer mind. It’s about having things that you only essentially need – anything you don’t use or need, shouldn’t be in your home. If you’re buying something new, something else should be thrown out, to make space for the new thing.
It’s essentially about feeling happier, by having a less cluttered home and clearer space around you, which brings clarity to the mind making you feel calmer and happier.
Being Happy with Less
Time to release any attachment, value and self-worth associated with your materialistic stuff. After all, they are just things, possessions you exchanged for money.
If you attach happiness to your material things and put great value to them including your own worth, then you are not going to be a happy bunny.
You may find yourself constantly buying things, to display in every empty corner of your home, just to fill a space when really, you’re trying to fill a missing piece.
I know right, deep stuff this minimalism!
On a serious note, minimalism is all about detaching emotion from materialistic things, because they are simply trivial to what really matters in life.
Rather than focusing on what you should buy next, to be happier with less, you should be focusing your energy on your mental health, spiritual health and discovering what makes you happy/unhappy.
If we are relying on things to bring us happiness, when will we stop?
When is enough stuff enough?
Will the constant being ever end? And if it doesn’t, are we basically saying we’ll never be happy because no matter how much we buy and have, it doesn’t feel like enough?
How to Be More Minimalistic?
To be more minimalistic, you basically need to throw away anything you don’t need, or use. Simple, right?
It can be a lot of work, especially if you have been keeping things for years or are a hoarder (we all know one…)
Minimalism is about having less, being happier with having less and still feeling valued and worthy, once you’re left with an empty room.
Life isn’t about possessions – after all, you can’t take them to the afterlife with you, right?
To be more minimalists, here are a few tips and ways you can start decluttering your home and mind:
Tips to Becoming a Minimalist
No. 1 – Declutter
Throw away anything you haven’t worn, used in 1 year or more.
There’s always a few things you keep, because in might come in handy, I might need it one day, or as soon as I throw it away, I’ll need it and then I’ll have to buy it again!
Been there, done that.
I have a box full of glow sticks and a pink wig I’m keeping in case I go to a fancy dress or a rave – I mean, how likely is that, really? Throw that damn wig away girl!
Anyway, the point is – don’t keep the stuff you haven’t used in a year or more. If you haven’t used it by now, chances are you never will.
No one needs that many things and no one needs to be prepared for every situation that requires a wig, or a DVD collection that hasn’t been watched in years.
No. 2 – Less Stuff Means More Time
It’s true – having fewer things, means you have a clear mind, a clear space, less to clean/tidy and as a result more time to focus on yourself, your family, your mental health or doing things you love.
We’re constantly being reminded that our life can be made better or easier if we buy a new mop, or a vacuum, there’s a new coffee machine or a kettle that saves money!
Buy, buy, buy otherwise your life will remain harder to manage without these new things!
Adverts everywhere, reminding us of yet more stuff that we need to truly feel happy.
You just know that your neighbour Julie will have that new mop and will be prancing around her kitchen with it, while you struggle away with your old excuse of a mop.
Naturally. You go and buy one because Julie’s no better than you.
Then you resent yourself for buying the same mop Julie has, just to feel on the same level as her, but actually, you feel like you gave in, spent money you didn’t need to, and now feel a bit silly for trying to get one ahead of your neighbour.
Give it up girl.
Focus on what matters, what’s really valuable in your life, and that is – your time, experiences and memories.
Something we can’t buy or replace – fewer things, more time.
By having less, you also won’t need to spend hours searching for stuff buried somewhere in your loft or a box somewhere.
No. 3 – Find Peace and Tranquility in Emptiness, Stillness and Spare Time (as well as space) – Meditate
Minimalists may seem like spiritual hippies who don’t need anything, even shoes.
Although that’s a little stereotypical, the truth is that with minimalism you really start to shift perspective and your view on the world and how material possessions are no longer significant.
An empty, clean space brings calmness to the mind.
Ever notice how much better you feel after tidying your home and putting all clutter away?
Clear space, clear mind.
To get into a complete tranquility state – try meditating in your current space. Focus on your mind and detach yourself from your materialistic things.
You’ll find that what truly matters will be easier to spot, and it’ll be way easier to let go of your materialistic possessions.
No. 4 – Reassess Your Possessions
Walk around your home, assessing all your possessions.
From boxes under your bed to your clothes, to gifts you’ve received but haven’t used, to things that are simply there because you can’t bring yourself to throw them away.
No. 5 – Evaluate Your Attachment to Things and How It Affects Your Finances
Take a notebook or a journal, and write down whatever comes to mind, when you think about your relationship with materials things.
Do you buy impulsively?
Do you buy it because you have money and you need to spend it?
Do you buy to treat yourself because you’ve been working hard and deserve this?
Do you buy to make your home look good, for when guests arrive and compliment how lovely your possessions are?
Answer the above questions truthfully, and find out exactly why, you buy material things and what it means to you. It will help you unravel the relationship you have with things – whether it’s healthy or unhealthy.
If you buy to impress others, be better, feel better, then quite frankly you are wasting your dollar because as we know by now, materialist things bring temporary happiness and are a short-lasting boost to confidence or self-worth.
Not to mention the money wasted on stuff that gave you a temporary happiness dose.
There are much cheaper solutions to make you feel happy, perhaps you just need to spend a bit of time with yourself to discover how you can be and feel happy.
No. 6 – Before You Buy, Throw Away
When you’re about to buy a new book for example, take some time to evaluate the books you currently have and pick one to give away or donate, before you buy a new one.
That way you’re making space for the new item, without taking up more space that should be kept free.
No. 7 – Assess Your Home
Which rooms look or feel cluttered to you? How does the room make you feel?
Which parts of it feel heavy with energy, busy, because of all the things in the room?
Set one weekend aside, placing 3 stickers onto things that you’d like to
- Throw away
- Donate, or give away
You can then easily plan a clear-out action in your home, letting go of things you don’t need and knowing exactly what to do with your things.
How Minimalism Saves Money
By going minimalist, you’ll save money because you will no longer feel the need to buy stuff, to fill a hole. If you’re getting rid of stuff, you can sell it and get some dollar back for it.
You get into a habit of being okay with less stuff, and detach yourself from materialistic things by focusing on valuable experiences instead. You’ll start to focus on doing, rather than quick fixes and boosts of happiness from buying.
Hand up if you ever bought something impulsively, because you felt sad or just wanted it, or to impress someone, and later regretted it or never used? I’m certainly guilty of that.
By going minimalist, you’ll no longer be in that bad habit of buying, wanting materialistic things and over the years save a looooot of money.
Can Minimalism Lead to Financial Freedom
That depends on your lifestyle. If you are continuously working towards financial freedom, going minimalist can certainly help you achieve that goal a lot quicker.
You won’t be spending money on pointless purchases or things you rarely use or don’t even need and thus saving money.
The more money you save, the closer you are to financial freedom.
However, if you continue in your current job and change nothing else but going minimalist, not sure whether financial freedom would just happen for you – as most entrepreneurs will tell you, financial freedom involves commitment and continuous work towards your goal.
To get to financial freedom, keep your mind set on your goal, invest in your future and sure, don’t spend money on the things you don’t need, sell whatever you don’t need, keep a nice savings account topped up and keep going!
More on motivation and positive mindset tips in this article.