Minimalism offers some obvious advantages, such as less cleaning and less stress, a more ordered home, and more money, but it also has some significant life-altering advantages.
Making mindful decisions to refuse unnecessary purchases means that less of our valuable resources are converted into material goods. You can invest the money you save on high-quality, long-lasting things. Less stuff means less clutter, less cleaning, and less things to keep up with.
We are encouraged to consume more and more in today’s society. What’s the point of chasing money if it’s only to be able to buy more and more? Being a minimalist entails first and foremost a recognition of the frantic race. Without a doubt, consumerism has mastered the art of complicating our lives. So how can you simplify your life? First and foremost, you must identify your material attachment. Accept that it is an impediment to living a simple life. To any existence that would be focused on the essential.
Ultimately, minimalism means less time spent on stuff, and more time doing things you love.
Ok, you’re convinced!
1. You might need that stuff one day.
You’re afraid that if you rid yourself of a potentially useful item, you’ll be in need in the future. This fear is reinforced by the aggressive individualism of our time, where you need to have it all, do it all and be it all. If you do not use the item in question regularly, you should consider renting or, better yet, borrowing it. It’s not sustainable or realistic, on a planetary level nor individual level, to accumulate everything you’ll ever need.
Giving up a few things so that you’ll be “forced” to depend on others is a great way to develop deeper relationships with neighbors and friends. Why not make your community your backup plan instead of that material object weighing you down?
2. Sentimental value is holding you back.
My father had kept many sentimental objects for decades. From old letters to little objects picked up from trips and events. After his death, I went to empty his apartment. Finding these sentimental objects caused me immense grief, for reasons I didn’t comprehend at the time. I realize now that my father was trying to hold on to the past, just as we all do. He was holding on to old joys, old hurts, old memories of his kids.
The truth is that you do not need material possessions to remember. The love and happiness of the past cannot be downloaded into your things. These lie within your heart. If you are not letting go of an object for sentimental reasons and this object does not spark joy, it is a burden. Detach and be free. Read more here.
3. You can think of alternative uses for the item.
I had this problem going through my closet. I would see an nice silk blouse that I had hardly used, and think “well, I could maybe cut it up and use it as a camisole? Maybe a small decorative pillow?”. If you were not going to buy the item to begin with, you are definitely not going to invest the time and effort into making it. Finding an alternative use for an unwanted item can just be an excuse for continued accumulation. If the item does not spark joy in it’s current form, get rid of it.
4. You got the item as a gift.
Gift-giving was once a beautiful tradition – you gave gifts that were genuinely special, useful and appreciated. Now, gifts are often burdens, given to fulfill social expectations, and not out of genuine thoughtfulness and care. If you are keeping something because it was a gift, know that your feelings for the object do not equate your feelings for the person. Again, if the gift does not spark joy in you, don’t keep it. If you feel like the gift-giver may get angry that you’ve disposed of their item, then that was a gift with expectations and therefore not a true gift. Do not trouble yourself with that person’s anger – it is misguided and unfair.
5. The item belongs to someone else.
If your home has become a storage unit for other people’s items, return their belongings immediately if possible. Invest in mailing it back to them if you need to (I’ve done so in the past, great use of money). If impossible, put these things in a designated bag in front of your door as a constant reminder that you need to give these things back. The exception is if that someone is needing you to store their items as a favor for some time – in that case, help that person out.
6. The item is brand new.
You know that we are living a life of excess consumption when having unused new stuff is a widespread problem. Don’t feel like you are wasting money by getting rid of a brand new item. If it sparked joy in you only during the moment when you bought it, then it has served its purpose in your life. Better to be given or sold to someone who will actually use the item, rather than keeping it out of guilt. Take it as a learning opportunity to be more careful about your purchases in the future.
7. People are telling you to keep it.
I had this problem when I was downsizing my stuff , especially when it came to getting rid of my wedding dress. Friends, family and my husband all angrily protested this ‘defiant’ act. At the end of the day, this is your life, your stuff and your burden. Other people will not be in charge of maintaining, moving and storing the excess stuff you have. And unless they are your family, they will not be in charge of disposing of it after you die (which you don’t want to put them through anyways). Do what’s right for you, what’s right for the future and forget the rest.