We keep things that are valuable to us — things that we treat as memories. And because these things carry significant meanings in our lives, we tend to be tied to them. But why?
Because memories are often shared through physical things. We tend to channel our emotions (such as joy, fear, and insecurity) through the things we own. And when we hold on to things that no longer serve us, we indirectly express our unwillingness to let go of the past, and move on. Can you relate to this?
While many of us believe that we need to own more things in order to be happier, the growing generation of minimalist individuals see it differently. They believe that less is more. And clutter doesn’t make them happy at all.
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’s more to life than collecting possessions.
Imagine if you’re living with a serious hoarder. Your housemate enjoys buying and collecting knick-knacks. But you don’t. It won’t be surprising if the both of you often argue about what should stay in the house or what should leave.
Ask me about hoarding. I know about it all too well. I was, after all, raised by a hoarder.
There are many reasons why many people end up becoming hoarders. It could be due to past hardship, the memories they’re fighting to keep, etc. And often their hoarded possessions result to unhappiness and lack of motivation to move on. Hoarding doesn’t just affect their personal life, but also their relationship with others.
So how does minimalism help us live a simpler life? Well, minimalism can train us to focus on things that are more important to us, such as our health, the people around us, and mainly us. 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 habits.
Just because we want to live minimally, does not mean we can’t enjoy all the good things in life. Minimalism is about how we manage our focus on essentials that make up our life, our happiness, and our satisfaction, without the need of having too much of everything.
Remember: ‘big’ things also come in small packages.
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. We can’t take everything we own with us, can we? What if we lose them? Does that mean we’re going to stop being happy when that happens? We can still be happy even when we don’t have every item that everybody else has.
Once we’ve mastered the art of simplicity, and learn how to resist the temptations around us, we’ll then be able to truly understand why minimalist individuals believe that 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.
I spend less time on cleaning now. In 2016, I lived in a small, clutter-free apartment. Since 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 having thousands of valuables; we’ll always have to find ways to keep and maintain them. We’ll also need to worry about where we can keep them, what we’ll do with them should we move elsewhere, and many other concerns.
Also, many of us tend to get attached to our valuables, which is the common reason why most of us find it hard to throw things that no longer serve us. We continue to keep them simply because these things carry sentimental values. But these sentimental values are also the factors that are holding us 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 they’ve had for a long time, or a gift given by someone special, somehow deep down inside they know they can’t bring or keep everything with them.
We don’t have to purge everything we own. We can choose to keep what we think are the most important to us. It’s always best to keep things that make us feel more positive, not bitter.
6. It makes them feel happier
We’ll feel a lot happier once we’re able to detach ourselves from clutter. When the things that once burden us are gone, we’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 we don’t need, right?
If they don’t bring any good to us anymore, we have no reasons to attach ourselves to them. This goes the same for negative vibes or negative people around us. If we’re surrounded by negative friends, there’s no reason for us to stay close to them. We’re just absorbing their negative energies.
Minimalism helps people focus more on themselves and other significant priorities.
7. Simplicity is good
Are we happier when we have more things? Maybe for a little while. But once we’re done with our addiction (of collecting things), or when we aren’t able to feed our hoarding addiction anymore, we begin to realise that the sensation we once felt was rather temporary.
The things I had collected over the years made me realise that I had way too much stuff. They were enough for me to throw a yard sale. Wow, that’s a lot of stuff!
By simply cleaning and organising our homes, we’ll be able to see how much stuff we own; stuff that we use and stuff that we’ve forgotten all about.
When spring cleaning our homes, we can categorise our possessions into three categories: keep, sell, charity. By selling the things we no longer need, we’ll be able to make a bit of money, which can either be put to our savings, or used for important matters.
Once we’ve cleared our years of clutter, we can try living in a more spacious and cleaner space, and examine how we feel a week after the process. Then we can ask ourselves how we feel about it. I did, and have now turned a new leaf.
8. More time for everything else that matters
Keeping less things also means that we have less to clean as mentioned in point number 3. Decluttering things we 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 room. That was how I lived until I decided to change my lifestyle 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 used to spend a lot of time cleaning and tidying my home; sometimes to a point where I spent more time on cleaning than spending time with friends.
But after discovering minimalism, I started living minimally and making more time for myself and my loved ones without having to neglect the cleanliness of my home.
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! 🙂