It may have only become socially recognized in the past few years, but Minimalism in some form has existed in humanity for centuries under different names and cultures. Sadly, these timeless ideas of how to live a good life have been overshadowed by modern society, telling us that the ideal way of living is to consume, consume, consume. Teaching us that we’re not good enough without x, y or z. This is how the machine works, and we’re all cogs inside keeping it moving. It is not sustainable for people or the climate, and these ideas don’t actually lead to contentment. But you know that, that’s why you’re reading this. No matter what stage you’re at of building a better environment and life for yourself, here are a few life-altering benefits you can expect as a result of the choices you’ve made to practice Minimalism. Go you!
1 – Minimalism Reduces Your Expenses
According to this article, Millennials are the first generation in recent history to be financially worse off than their parents. The housing market is quite frankly insane, but what if I told you you could afford the house of your dreams by skipping out on your daily Starbucks coffee, just like your uncle Keith says?
Jokes aside, the housing market is grim but it doesn’t have to be as bad as it looks. We can live full lives while sacrificing many of the creature comforts and items that we have become accustomed to. And by doing so, your expenses will drop drastically. This means you don’t need to work as much in order to pay your bills, and you can save much faster than you would normally. Your dream of owning a house before you die may actually become a reality!
Alternatively, these reduced expenses mean you don’t have to work as much in order to get by and still save the same amount of money you would otherwise. Enjoy your extra day or two off per week, you deserve it.
2 – The Anxiety of Moving Disappears
Hiring movers? Asking your mate Gerald from work to help you on his one day off and him saying yes but secretly resenting you? This may sound normal but the reality is (in my opinion), it is simply absurd to require so much effort to move the possessions of one person.
This one isn’t immediately noticeable and often overlooked, but you’ll be very grateful when it happens to you. You’ll realize how simple the process has become thanks to your new lifestyle.
Obviously, it depends how far you experiment with your possession ownership, but the less you own the less you need to move, and the less time it takes to prepare for the big day.
I myself have moved house in a single car trip, fitting everything into a tiny 2002 Toyota Corolla. I have moved to a different continent with hand luggage and a small suitcase. Yet, strangely enough, I enjoy my life more now than when I had countless possessions to keep me comfortable.
The freedom of movement outweighs the anxiety relief of owning something you might need.
3 – Your Free Time Vastly Increases
When you own fewer things, it ultimately means you will spend less time finding, fixing, cleaning and replacing those items. Which means you can dedicate that time to activities and people you actually enjoy.
This is just the immediate effect of decluttering and downsizing your physical environment. Spend time analyzing and removing behaviours that do not serve you, and you will have even more time. Perhaps even more time than you know what to do with.
4 – Everything Is Now Easier to Find
One of the most common objections to decluttering I hear is “What if I need this? It’s better to have it, just in case”. While yes, this logically does make sense, if you have so much clutter lying around and you can’t find the object you need, do you really own it? If you haven’t used it in years, do you even really need it?
Unless you live somewhere really rural, the objective reality is that the vast majority of these items can be replaced within 20 minutes, for under $20 worth of your local currency. If you haven’t used something in a year, chances are you’re not going to. Donate it, someone else might actually use it.
A misconception about people who embrace the Minimalist lifestyle is that they loathe physical possessions. This, however, is skewed. A more accurate perception would be that they loathe excess. If you’re having trouble getting rid of sentimental items, check out our guide.
5 – You’re Benefitting the Environment
You are still consuming, make no mistake. There is no way of getting around that unless you live in the middle of nowhere and produce everything for yourself. While that is the dream for many, it’s not realistic for the majority. We are part of a system that destroys by the environment whether we like it or not. The key is to be a mindful consumer.
Be mindful of what you buy, its origin, how long it will last as well as what it will take to keep it maintain it. The items you surround yourself with have a lifetime beyond just your personal experiences with them. We may not be able to change the reality of where the environment is heading as an individual, but we can at least reduce our impact as much as possible through the simple choices we make. Collectively they may make a bigger impact.