If you like the things you own (and who doesn’t, you got them because you liked them) it can be hard to justify getting rid of them. Many people like the idea of living the minimalist lifestyle, but aren’t sure if it’s worth the effort.
I like minimalist living – for me, it’s great. But to be completely honest, I’m not sure that it’s for everyone. Some people love the complexity of their lives, and certainly most people love the things they own.
So I’ve decided to brainstorm and come up with 10 problems you can fix by simplifying and owning less.
For some people, this list won’t be enough. For others, I hope it will help them get rid of their doubts about the minimalist lifestyle, and inspire them to take the plunge!
10 Problems and the Minimalist Solution
There’s 10 problems, and only one solution: OWN LESS.
1. High Monthly Bills: When the things you acquire have a monthly bill attached to them, you may find yourself working tons of overtime, weekends, and ungodly hours just to keep from going under. When you own less of these things, your monthly payments become far more manageable, and some extreme minimalists have eliminated ALL of their monthly bills. That’s one of my long term goals, but for now, I’m happy with low monthly bills!
2. Too Much Debt: Most Americans are up to their ears in credit card payments, student loans, and mortgage debt. This concept may not apply to everyone, but if you have a car, boat, or other asset you don’t need – get rid of it! This will not only decrease your debt, but it’ll help you develop a minimalist mindset that will help keep you from spending more than you need to. Owning less will eventually result in little or no debt.
3. Stress in General: Many different factors cause stress. Some of the leading factors of stress are overworking, high-paced living, complexity of lifestyle, and debt. Guess what can fix all of those stress factors – owning less!
4. Lack of Time: The bad news: I still say I don’t have enough time, and I’ve been pursuing the minimalist lifestyle for years. The good news: I have more time than I’ve ever had, and more relevantly, I have the flexibility to pursue two or three times the activities I could have “pre-minimalism”. Owning less things is one of the best ways to free up time. And it’s up to you to decide how you want to free up time: Less things = Less time you have to work. Less things = Less time spent on maintenance and upkeep. Less things = Less time cleaning and organizing. The list goes on.
5. Messy House: What makes your house messy? The things you own. Obviously you don’t want to get rid of everything, but the more you lose, the less chance your house has to get messy.
6. Disorganization: Same as above. The less things you own, and the less activities you have to worry about, the less chance your life has to get disorganized.
7. Choosing What to Wear: Most people own a closet full of clothes, half of which they never wear. Part of the problem of choosing what to wear is sorting through the never-worn clothes and distinguishing between the wearable clothes and good ones. Getting rid of those clothes decreases the amount of time picking the clothes you wear, and alleviates the stress of finding the right clothes when you’re running late for work!
8. Keeping up With the Jones: This is more of an abstract concept, but bear with me. Keeping up with the latest clothing styles, car models, and lawn care strategies eat into precious time and corrodes our lifestyles with stress. I can’t prove this in any way, but it’s true: The deeper you push into the minimalist lifestyle, the less you’ll care about keeping up with your neighbors. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s because you realize how much better your life is than theirs, and it’s because you refuse to worry about low priority habits that don’t improve your life.
9. Not Enough Space: This one’s pretty obvious. The less you own, the more your space grows. Simple as that.
10. Working Too Much: The only reason people work too much (aside from addiction) is to keep up on their overwhelming finances. We’ve already covered how owning less = lower debt and monthly payments, so you can make the connection. The more you cut your expenses (which is often best done by simply owning less), the less you have to work. “But my boss won’t let me!” After you simplify your belongings and finances, and take on the minimalist mindset, you’ll have the freedom to quit that job and get a good one.
I hope the solution of owning less will help you gain more freedom – it has for many, myself included.
Thanks for reading!