There is an ever present belief in my society that material and possessions equate to personal happiness. So many people that I know seem to be enamored with the idea of buying a big house or an expensive car or the latest technology because it makes them feel happy for a moment, rewarding them for weeks, months or years of work in a routine that brings no pleasure in itself. Then just as quickly as this happiness comes in to their lives, it fades away once again shortly after.
It’s hard to blame any person for thinking this way either because our society encourages this belief in people. We are capitalists and money equates to success in our communities. We also live in a society that relies heavily on commercialism and clever marketing; The kind of marketing that tells us finding happiness, love and higher status usually comes with the purchase of a product. This is the world of consumer zombies.
Passionately, I disagree with this way of thinking and I am a big believer in living life practically and with purpose. There is no good reason for us to own much more than what we need in life and there are plenty of benefits to living life with the tendencies of a fundamental minimalist. Here are 5 reasons why I stand by my claim:
The Less You Own, The Greater Your Personal Freedom!
Perhaps one of the biggest perks of minimizing your personal possessions is the ease in which you are able to move around. I still haven’t quite figured out where I would want to call home in this world, and I think about moving frequently. The worst part about moving to a new location is transferring all of your possessions from one place to the next, and the less you own, the easier that is!
It can make the difference between one truck load or two. It can also mean the difference between needing the help of 2 friends or the help of 5 professional movers. The less you own the easier it is to move with ease. It is also easier to store your possessions if you had ever needed to.
With Less Possessions to Care For, The Cheaper They Are to Maintain
When we own only what is necessary to us, it is much easier to be able to afford to keep those possessions in good repair. It’s also more affordable to buy quality products when they are few! Whether it’s your vehicle, or your cell phone that you can’t live without, having the extra funds on hand to take care of what truly enhances your life will always be beneficial. If we accumulate too much unnecessary junk which we hardly ever use, then we are spending money acquiring it, wasting our space storing it and spreading our funds even thinner in trying to maintain it all.
There is Beauty in Living Life Simply
This is a hard one for anybody to understand who has not allowed themselves to actually give up most of what they own and to live life with the bare necessities but it allows you to truly appreciate the things that you do have and even the things that you don’t. You earn a respect for your possessions and for the little things that come your way in life.
Living above your means will keep you ignorant, living at par with your means will keep you practical and living below your means will keep you humble.
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”
–– Henry David Thoreau
Your Home Becomes More Spacious!
When you only take up the room in your home for what you need, surprisingly you will have a lot more space left to be used. The simplicity of your possessions make maintaining an organized and tidy home even easier as well. There’s less potential for clutter and more space for company or other activities that you enjoy.
Perhaps there’s an area for that painting canvas which you have always been dreaming about or maybe that workout area that you had never had the space for. Sometimes simplifying an area creates an opportunity to fill it with meaning in some other way to bring greater substance and ease to your life.
With Less Material Items to Buy, The More You Can Afford to Do!
There is one very important truth to all of this and that is, with purchasing less material goods we are left with more financial freedom to pursue other things in life. We can travel and see places that we had always dreamed of visiting. We can take exciting road trips with friends and do things that we had never done before while creating wonderful experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. We will cultivate better relationships with those close to us because we have the freedom to chase more unique experiences. It’s in this way of living that we will find more happiness in life and smile in reflecting upon the way that we have lived.
So, at the end of the day, you don’t need to give up your house to live out of an RV in order to experience the benefits of living life more simply, but it is good practice to minimize those things in life that are unnecessary luxuries or wastes of space.
Try one day to remove some clutter from your life and pay attention to how it makes you feel. Does it feel like a weight is removed from off of your shoulders? Do you feel lighter as a human being? Do you feel freedom?
When we brush our teeth, a whole tube of toothpaste isn’t going to help cleanse our mouth any more than a small dab. It’s just a waste of toothpaste. The same applies to the rest of our life. We need mindfulness in our consumption.
Happiness will never be fully acquired through what we own in life, but only through the experiences that we gather and the relationships that we build. Our materials are only ever supposed to be tools to help us to survive and to achieve the goals that we are aiming to accomplish. So we would all do well to try to remember to live life with both great love and great simplicity, for it may just be the key to happiness that we have all been searching after for so long.