We keep things that are valuable to us — things that we treat as memories — things we still have or may not have anymore. And because these things (or some like to consider them as memories) carry significant meanings in our lives, we tend to be tied to them. These things are either our possessions, or the feelings in our hearts. For many, it’s the possessions that they’re holding on to. But why?
Because memories are often shared through physical things. We tend to channel our sense of fear and insecurity through the things we own. And when we hold on to these things, we indirectly express our unwillingness to let go of the past or to move on.
It’s not surprising that many of us can relate to this as we’re made to believe by the media that in order to be happier, we need to own more. But the growing generation of minimalist individuals see it differently. They believe that less is more. And one can feel happier when owning less compared to those who keep “clutter”. Let’s try to understand this by exploring the 8 reasons why more people are choosing to live minimally today.
1. More space for more important things
Minimalist individuals realise that there are many other things that are more important to them than collecting possessions. Imagine if your partner is a serious hoarder, but you’re not. It’s not surprising if the both of you often fight about what should stay in the house or what should leave.
There are many reasons why people become hoarders. It could be due to past hardship, the memories they’re fighting to keep, etc. And often their habit results to unhappiness and lack of motivation to move on.
Minimalism can train people to focus on things that are more important to them, such as their health, the people around them, and mainly them. When we stop consuming the unnecessary, not only will we improve our relationships with others, but we can also be more mindful about our spending.
Minimalism does not mean that you have to live beyond your means. It’s more about how you manage your focus on essentials that make up your life, your happiness, and your satisfaction, without the need of having too much of everything. Remember, big things also come in small packages, and less can be more.
2. They learn to be less materialistic
People who adopt this lifestyle realise that material possessions can’t always buy them true happiness. While it’s not easy to not get trapped into consumerism, we can try our very best to combat the influence of materialism.
Minimalism teaches us not to base our happiness on just physical things. You can’t take everything you own with you, can you? What if you lose them? Are you going to stop being happy when that happens? Resist the temptations around you and soon you’ll realise that sometimes less is more.
3. Less cleaning
Have you seen minimalist homes? You may have noticed how spacious and tidy they are. That’s one of the key essences of minimalism — keeping things at a minimum. When you have fewer things laying in the house, you’ll have less to clean.
Frankly speaking, I prefer to live in a clean and organised home. I get annoyed and restless when my house is in a mess. While I can adapt to all kinds of surroundings (even the worst), I rather live in a tidy home than a home full of chaos. Compared to last year, I now spend less time on cleaning. That’s because I’m currently living in a small, clutter-free apartment. And because I own fewer things now, cleaning has become a lot easier than before.
4. Less worries
Likewise, when we have less things, we have less worries. Imagine if you own thousands of valuables, you’ll always have to find ways to keep and maintain them. You’ll also need to worry about where you can keep them, what you’ll do with them should you move elsewhere, and many other concerns.
Also, people tend to get attached to their valuables, which is the common reason why most of them find it hard to throw things that no longer serve them. They continue to keep them simply because these things carry sentimental values. But these sentimental values are also the factors that are holding them back.
5. They have less (or maybe nothing) to lose
Many people are afraid of losing what’s important to them. Whether it’s something you’ve had for a long time or a gift given by someone special, deep down inside you know that you can’t bring or keep everything with you.
You don’t have to purge everything you own. Select the ones that are the most important to you, and it’s always best to keep things that will make you feel more positive, not making you go bitter.
6. It makes them feel happier
You’ll feel a lot happier once you’re able to detach yourself from clutters. When the things that once burden you are gone, you’ll feel a great sense of relief. It’s a permanent sensation. At least that’s how I feel every time I get rid of the things I don’t need. Why keep things you don’t need, right?
If they don’t bring any good to you anymore, you have no reasons to attach yourself to them. It goes the same for negative vibes or negative people around you. If you’re surrounded by negative friends, there’s no reason for you to stay close to them. You’re just absorbing their negative energies. Minimalism helps people to focus more on themselves and more significant priorities.
7. Simplicity is good
Do you think you’ll be happier if you have more things? Maybe for a little while. But once you’re done with your addiction (of collecting things), or when you aren’t able to feed your hoarding addiction anymore, you begin to realise that the sensation you once felt was rather temporary.
When you look again at everything you’ve collected over the years, you may realise that you’ve got enough of things to sell in your garage sale. Wow, that’s a lot of stuff!
Try cleaning your house and see how clean it is after you’re done with it. Sell your shit and see how much money you’re able to make from selling everything you’re getting rid off. And then try living in a more spacious and cleaner space. Examine how you feel a week after the process. Ask yourself how you feel. I bet you’ll love the changes.
8. More time for everything else that matters
Keeping less things also means that you have less to clean as mentioned in point number 3. Decluttering things you don’t need is basically removing things that shouldn’t be around anymore, including dust.
I know what it’s like to live in a cluttered and messy environment. My dad is a compulsive antique collector. Back in university, my friends knew how messy I was. I never bothered to clean and tidy up my mess. That was how I lived until I decided to turn over a new leaf and have a more organised life.
I’m not like the OCD folks you might have seen on the TV show ‘Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners’, but I won’t deny that I clean on a regular basis; sometimes to a point where I spent more time on cleaning than spending time with friends.
But after discovering minimalism, I start living minimally and making more time for myself and my loved ones without having to neglect the essence of keeping my home clean and tidy.
Now that I’ve explained the 8 reasons why more people are choosing to live minimally, would you consider living the minimalist lifestyle, too?
Today I no longer keep things I don’t need. I purged most of the things that reminded me of the past. I believe that I don’t always need things to remind me of the good old days. The memories are all in my head after all and that’s all that matters. I feel a lot happier now. And I must admit that the transition wasn’t easy.
If you’re on your journey to living minimally, too, I wish you all the best! 🙂