Minimalist living is gaining a lot of traction in health and wellness circles. The idea is that by living with less, you face fewer financial burdens and less stress, allowing individuals to learn to be happy with what they have.
What Is a Minimalist Lifestyle?
Minimalism involves buying fewer things, getting rid of things that you don’t use, and focusing on experiences rather than possessions. It’s not a new idea: many religions make minimalism a core part of their practice. It is something that has become more popular recently, however, as people digitize their media collections and go from stuffed closets to capsule wardrobes.
Minimalism promises a lot of benefits. One prominent minimalism blogger notes that when they changed how they approached their life, their relationships improved and they even had more time to focus on their health.1 The approach lets people spend less money, waste less time on cleaning, and be more productive.2
- Getting rid of things that don’t add value to your life
- Wasting less money (so hopefully having more financial security)
- Feeling happier and less stressed
- Doing your part for the environment
- Focusing more on relationships and experiences than material objects
Making a Start with Minimalism
It can be hard to make a start with minimalism. If you grew up around hoarders or even just collectors then the idea of clinging onto things could seem difficult to let go of at first. The good news is that you don’t have to strip your life back down to the bare basics immediately to enjoy the benefits of minimalism.
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Getting rid of a few things that you don’t use will de-clutter your home, which can be a good mood booster. If you can sell some of those things, then you’ll have money that you can use to treat yourself to a nice experience or save for a rainy day.
Minimalism Takes a Mental Shift
At the core of minimalism is the idea that if you’re going to spend money on something, it should be worth having. It’s quality over quantity highlighted in a powerful way.3
Minimalism is about giving up material objects to enjoy experiences, but it’s difficult to trust that the experiences will come if you’re living paycheck to paycheck right now. That’s why strategies such as savings charts or the 52-week money challenge are so popular.4 These encourage people to make small changes that might help them make that mental shift in the long term.
Is Minimalism Worth It for You?
Minimalism can seem daunting, and it’s not something that everyone can dive right into. People who grew up without a lot of possessions sometimes want to own things now because owning material objects might seem more special at the moment.
Even if you aren’t ready to clear out your life right now, try to whittle down your possessions over time by throwing out things a little more ruthlessly and bringing less into the house. Before each purchase, think to yourself:
- Do I really need this?
- If I just want it, will I really use it?
- Will it bring me joy?
If you honestly can’t answer at least one of those questions with an affirmative, then don’t buy the item. Put the money that you would have spent into a savings account. Avoid checking that account as much as possible. You’ll be glad about that money if there is ever an emergency, and after a while, you can look and see how much is in it and treat yourself to a fun experience.
Minimalism doesn’t have to be taken to extremes. However, stripping your life down to the basics in small ways gives you more freedom. It means you have fewer bills, and it leaves you with more space to just enjoy life.
Imagine life with low bills and no credit agreements, where you are not tied down and your commitments are minimal. If you have a small family and want to make the most of having limited responsibilities, then the only thing holding you back is your stuff. Why let objects that will just gather dust in a few year’s time hold you back from living your best life right now?
Remember to live your life for experiences rather than for material possessions—this mindset will set you on the path towards trying out minimalist living.
Photo credits: DmitriMa/shutterstock.com, NateeMeepian/shutterstock.com, LEKSTOCK3D/shutterstock.com