Nothing is as irritating as having to move your stuff to a new place, or worse, to a new country.
Last year I just resigned from my previous job as a cabin crew. One of the hardest tasks I have to admit was to pack my stuff and bring them over to my new home. So much to pack even though I was quite a minimalist at the time.
I gave away two boxes of clothes, shoes, one massive box of miscellaneous things to the security guys down in my building. I felt like my own tumor just got removed.
Working as a flight attendant was the peak time of my consumerism journey.
I was able to travel around the world, visit many department stores, shopping districts in all continents, airports, duty-free shops, a great salary, the pleasure of buying power. It was impossible to say no to binge shopping.
Unfortunately, I did not feel happy even though I was spending.
I live humbly at the moment, even broke living with only a few euros per day just for a cup of coffee or some takeaway chicken. I have not gone shopping for quite a while (apart from grocery or essential items). But I feel free and joyful.
Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus – the owners of Minimalists.com have been helping over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcasts, and documentaries. They wrote an article scientifically proven that minimalism brings happiness.
Here is a quick list of 11 ways that having less stuff only brings good into my life:
#1 Having less stuff means “more space and clean less”
Everything has its own place in my house.
Used to have my own room but since I moved in with my partner, I try to eliminate unnecessary items that don’t serve the purpose of efficiency. We know where to find our keys, mobile phones, socks, personal stuff… which saves a lot of time since I barely lose things and spend time finding them.
If the kitchen is there for the purpose of cooking, I do not even bother adding extra decor. The less you have, the less you clean (or hire someone to). It creates some empty space in the house for future usage.
#2 Is it what you want or what you need?
The best question to ask before making an impulsive buy: Do you really need it? Or you just want it. Those are two completely different ideas.
I love going to shopping malls, supermarkets, different stores just to check out products. Things are just so eye-catching with all the additional discounts, numbers, colors, ads… But I ask myself do I really need this stuff right now? If not, I skip.
With this mindset, I end up going home without buying anything.
#3 When it comes to clothes, quality over quantity
Fast fashion brands are not made to last.
Drop by Bershka, H&M, Pull & Bear, even Forever 21 to try on some new clothes, turn out you like them and decide to purchase because they are affordable, trendy and that you need. You wear them a few times, then they stay in your closet, who knows: until which century.
Try to get good quality maybe a bit pricey clothes, choose the classic ones that hardly outdated, easy color to mix-and-match that you do not have to wake up and think too much on how to dress properly. Usually, they last long, for years even after dozens of washes.
#4 More organized from your home to your personal life
I almost bought a PS4 just because I was addicted to video games. I thought I had some spare time to spend.
The more entertainments you have, the more they will trap you. If I have a play station, I need to play. If I subscribe to Netflix, I must watch more. The pleasure of being entertained, and I do not deny it, we are all sinners. We turn out to exchange our precious time just to have a little fun.
While you know it is better to join a language class, play a game on mobile (cheaper way), work out or just simply rest your mind.
#5 It could mean saying no more often… to stuff
Talking about shopping in IKEA.
I grab all the unneeded products because I think I need them later on (in life?!) I could act nonchalant and leave the store with essential things or better, nothing. How powerful is that? Black Friday, Buy One Get One Free, Discount for the next items, Cyber Monday, Big Sales, Promotions just do not matter. You know you can say and walk away. Real sass.
I chose to spend those cash on traveling experience instead. You learn how to hold the temptation to gain respect for yourself, that you can do it.
#6 You end up spending less
I get things that last long, not last for a few days or months.
Many people have the mindset of wanting more, exactly how the mass media has been trying to manipulate us for more sales. The more, the bigger, the better.
The society of Size and Quantity.
One new version of the iPhone released with only one or two new features, though it costs ridiculously, people still want it, even they just got the latest months ago.
Spend less to spend more (later on). Your future self will thank you. Unless you have that YOLO mindset, that we all die tomorrow.
#7 You have more free time
Less stuff means more time. There is not much distraction in your life.
Everything is so overwhelming nowadays that it is impossible to have extra time, let alone a 9-5 job. Imagine going home and having so much distraction from your gadgets. Try to eliminate things.
I like the idea of having a bathtub to relax, light some scented candles, spa music. But then you need to buy candles, sea salts, essence oil, exfoliate rubber, you know what I mean. Perhaps some plants, extra bubble shampoo to add to the experience. And boom, you create a bathtub kingdom.
#8 It makes your life less complicated
Imagine your house is so basic that you just want to go out and enjoy the sun or explore some new places in your city.
I don’t wake up with PS4 next to me, or the high-end OLED TV with the latest Bose technology. Netflix subscription what? I barely watch TV. Writing blog articles is more fun. MacBook and my own personal cellphone consume a lot of my time already. I cannot even think of other tech gadgets.
I do not buy books either. We can pretty much find everything online. When you want to buy a book, pick one, finish reading, then think of getting another. Not four at the same time.
#9 Access to the world of minimalists
By having less, you start to understand the concept of minimalism. At first, I assumed it was a poor person’s lifestyle. Being less dependent on materialism allows you to have more time and energy on what matters in life: your partner, family, friends, career, leisure, or your personal development.
As an introvert, I’d like to have less and go out more, learn something new, focus on my projects, think of what to write next.
#10 Simplicity is the core of happiness
Less is more.
I love the idea of having enough clothes to wear, either for winter, formal occasions, casually hang out, or just stay home. I wear the same pairs of shoes every day. Before I used to own at least 20 pairs of shoes. Now I wear sneakers that for both gym and casual. They match with any pairs of jeans or outfit. Subtraction adds more value.
Eliminate stuff to create time and room for your well-being and creativity.
#11 Consumerism culture hold back true freedom
I compared myself a lot with other friends or colleagues or strangers on Instagram.
I wish I was rich. Driving that fancy car and traveling to exotic places. Things on social media are not always authentic. People don’t share what is underneath the surface. Only the good sides. Once I learned how to step away from the culture of consumerism and the need for validations. I found true liberty.
Freedom to stand out, to feel enough, to know that having less than others doesn’t belittle me. I have time to prioritize and chase what is meaningful in life instead of impressing strangers.
I am currently going through a transition that I required to be thoughtful about purchasing. I don’t follow trends and impulsive spending anymore. I created a budget to carry on the next step in my career and my personal life. Even though I was earning quite well before, I kept my daily expenses humbly. I didn’t own much so I did not spend much.
I am still trying to get rid of my old stuff. Going shopping isn’t a bad idea. I love it, we all do. A new pair of shoes, a tech gadget, eating out once in a while, why not? It feels rewarded doing those and we deserve it.
I keep it in moderation.
Before getting something new, ask yourself this question:
- Do the thing that you are going to buy somehow bring value or a new experience or make your life easier?
- Do you really need it or you want it.
- Think about if you do not own it now, what is going to happen?
- Will you be okay without it?
- Does life go on ordinarily?
When you were a child, you wanted a toy so badly. What happened once you got it? You got bored immediately after a few plays.
I still remember that desire I had for my first ever mobile. But all the craves went away shortly. Only memories and experience last.
By having less, you do the mother nature a big favor. She will thank us in the long term.
Power Up Your Digital Impact • Copywriting, Digital Branding & Engagement, Personal Branding • Contact me for guest posts and collaboration.