Why less stuff will give you more joy, and why you don’t need to completely subscribe to the minimalist philosophy to reap this joy
They say that struggles are what make a person interesting. I’m not sure about that, but I have received clarity in my life from many of the associated struggles.
Struggle has made me rock-solid sure that people are more important than things.
Growing up I was the crafty child that saved the green transparent plastic scoop that came with my mom’s laundry detergent, every scrap from every art or craft project, and hundreds of mementos from trips, movies, and school activities were scrapbooked with care into my paper scrapbook, never to be looked at again.
Fast forward to my early 30s, and looking into my empty drawer in my nightstand, dresser with 5 colors of the same shirt, and the under-the-stairs-storage area that only has my vacuum, mop, dust wand, and broom in it, many people would assume I’m a minimalist.
What is a minimalist?
A minimalist is someone who intentionally owns less. They enjoy the sparse look, enjoy using one thing for multiple purposes, and identify themselves by what they don’t own, or how little they do own.
That’s not really me.
I enjoy reading minimalist blogs for ideas of how to make do with less, but it’s not something I happened on intentionally. Rather, my early years of struggle both by having a child with special needs and having significant financial issues when my children were little resulted in me learning that my life flows a lot more smoothly when I own less.
I also have money, time, and energy freed up to do things that make memories with the people I love – hiking, camping, visiting family, doing craft projects with the kids, and even blogging.
I also have learned to intentionally choose some things to purchase that aren’t minimal at all (I love cleaning gadgets, books, and outdoor equipment, and I take so.many.pictures.).
But there are many more that I don’t own, or put off and make do without items for years until I can afford what I really want (furniture) or am in a place where we don’t plan to move again soon (in the case of holiday decorations).
By not placing a priority on stuff, and not caring about whether my neighbors have better or more stuff than me, I’ve freed up my life for living, not just maintaining. And I enjoy my house a lot more too, since it’s much easier to keep clean and organized.
Look for more posts this month on how and why to own less:
- Having a Child with Special Needs and Owning Less Stuff
- Doing more, owning less
- Choosing ‘buy it once’
- Appreciate habits
- Why telling people about your goal may make you 30% less likely to achieve it
- Teaching our children the value of not owning things
- How to keep things off the floor when you have children
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