Less Is More

You never realize how much junk you have until it comes time to move. Then the mountain of boxes sitting in your living room make it obvious that you have too much stuff.

Everywhere we turn, society is telling us that stuff is where it’s at. Massive homes with walk-in closets have become a necessity to house the growing amount of stuff in our lives. We enthusiastically buy into this idea filling our homes with endless amounts of clutter โ€“ shoes that merely decorate our closets, enough outfits to clothe a third world country, and shiny bobbles that pull together our cluttered decor. When we think we can’t possibly fit anymore junk into our full lives, we go out and buy more.

But, what if we don’t need stuff? What if all we need is less – less junk, less clutter, less stress – to make our lives more meaningful?

Less is More, living with less

Today I’m sharing five ways that learning to live with less can change our lives for the better. We can have:

More Financial Freedom

Shopping can often feel like a reward for all the hard work we put in each month. Plus, who doesn’t like a little retail therapy after a bad day? The problem is that the more we spend, the harder we have to work. It becomes an endless cycle of working, budgeting and consuming.

Imagine what you could do with all the money you saved from not shopping? You could finally take that trip you’ve been dreaming about, pay off your credit cards, put money towards your retirement, and so much more. Financial freedom becomes less of being able to afford all the latest trends and more of being able to be free of debt and the necessity of working harder.

More Time

Once we decide to stop spending so much time shopping and working for material goods, our schedules open up for all the awesome adventures we were once too busy to enjoy. Instead of organizing our clutter, we can grab lunch with the gang, start a new hobby, or snuggle on the couch for a good Netflix binge. It’s amazing how much time we have when we cut out all the extra junk.

Less Stress

With financial freedom, more time and less clutter, comes a much less stressful life. There is no agonizing over the budget. There is no need to spend hours attempting to tackle the mess in the closet. And holidays can be enjoyed with family instead of participating in the latest fight to the death over a gaming system.

A clutter free home will also provide a warm sanctuary for those stressful days that do creep in. You’ll be glad to be able to retreat to the simplicity of your home, which may also encourage you to cut the clutter from other aspects of your life.

Collect Moments Not Things, living with less, less is more

Less Attachment to Material Things

We are sentimental creatures. We cling to our memories and mementos like a child clinging to its mother. We place immeasurable value on possessions that are merely things – our 1st car, ticket stubs, stuffed animals, grandmother’s dishes, clothing, etc. Even items that don’t hold any real meaning to us become sentimental when it comes time to get rid of them.

The struggle is real, people. We are attached to our things and it is pretty damn hard to let them go. But at the end of the day, they are merely things. Yes, they may be attached to your memories of a loved one or a special time in your life, but your memories don’t disappear when the object does.

I learned this the hard way when I returned home from my semester abroad and discovered half of the stuff my ex was supposed to have packed never made it into storage. My grandmother’s dishes, the wine goblets from my Quinceรฑera, and many other sentimental items were no where to be found. I was heartbroken and angry for a long time. Eventually, I realized that my memories are not diminished merely because that stuff is gone. It was just stuff. My memories and experiences are what truly matter. They are priceless.

More Gratitude

We are often too focused on filling the space around us with things to be grateful for what we have. We may not have all the things we want, but we have everything we need – clean water to drink, food to eat, a warm place to lay our heads at night and loving people to share our lives with. The rest is just extra.

In our quest to adorn our lives with things, we failed to realize all the strings that are attached to those possessions. So now, I want you to take a moment and think about what your stuff means to you. Could you cut the clutter and live a simpler life? Or do you enjoy the luxury of things? 

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, you should also check out Focusing on Gratitude.

  • http://www.seeyouinaporridge.com/ Kristen @ SYIAP

    yes to all of this! i am definitely trying to lead a more simple life. it is hard though when you’re attached to things – but like you said, memories arent diminished because you dont have the stuff! ps it finally verified lol

    • http://www.wanderlyn.com/ Lynsey @ Eternally WanderLyn

      I’m glad it finally verified! It is definitely hard to let go of the attachment, but there are lots of ways you can keep a physical memory of those things – photos, scanned images, turning those things into something you will actually use like a t-shirt quilt, etc. I’m currently working on scanning a copy of my old school reports and such so that I can get rid of the physical papers. I hope you’re able to find a happy medium for a simpler life! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • http://www.seeyouinaporridge.com/ Kristen @ SYIAP

        I want to do that for KC – he has so much crap from school – like even from middle school! lol

        • http://www.wanderlyn.com/ Lynsey @ Eternally WanderLyn

          LOL. Yea, I had a couple of things from middle school, too. I scanned them so I have digital copies now instead. It’s much less paper clutter! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • http://www.lifeaccordingtosteph.com/ SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph

    I like my things, within reason. If it doesn’t have a place or a home in my home, it doesn’t belong there. I also try to have space that’s just that – space.

    It’s important to look past the things, always!

    • http://www.wanderlyn.com/ Lynsey @ Eternally WanderLyn

      I think that’s a great way to look at things! It reminds me of that quote that says, “โ€œHave nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.โ€ I’d say that’s a happy medium. :)

  • http://expandng.com/ lisacng @ expandng.com

    I like that “Collect moments, not things”. I think over many years I’ve formulated good spending habits and the value I place on material things. Another good thing about being over 30, haha. I own nice things and take care of them so they last a long time. You’re right, not having so much is freeing in money, time, and stress. The last time I moved, I got rid of so much stuff and it was awesome. Right before the move, I left stuff out of boxes that we NEEDED and it was so little. I couldn’t believe how little we NEEDED to live. Puts things into perspective, ya know.

    • http://www.wanderlyn.com/ Lynsey @ Eternally WanderLyn

      Hah. Age definitely has some perks! I think buying fewer things also allows us to invest in better quality items which will last a lot longer. That’s very smart of you! ๐Ÿ˜€ I had a similar experience when I studied abroad. I lived for 4 months off the contents of 2 suitcases. Talk about learning to cut the crap out! Hah. I still had to learn to let go of the attachment when I got back though.

  • Nadine

    I am so with you on being a bit overwhelmed on how materialistic our society has become. At the end of the day, it is just stuff. It cant make you happy the way puppy kisses, husband snuggles, baby giggles, or a fond vacation memory make you feel. Sometimes I find myself with the wants and comparsies, but I try not to indulge in it too much.

    • http://www.wanderlyn.com/ Lynsey @ Eternally WanderLyn

      I love your examples! Snuggling with my puppies and boyfriend, playing with my adorable nieces, and traveling make me so much happier than buying something new. :) I think we all fall victim to “the wants and comparsies” from time to time, but it’s great that you don’t indulge in it.

  • http://www.kati-rose.com/ Kati Rose

    You and I are on such a similar wave length. I was recently cleaning my room and I got overwhelmed with how much stuff I had in general. I was getting so frustrated that I hardly used any of it and wondered why I and others wasted their money. It doesn’t make you happy and most of the time having stuff just complicates your life. I’m now in an ultra minimalistic mindset. Plus I like the idea if I have less I can just pack up and leave on a journey of the world if I was ever able…

    • http://www.wanderlyn.com/ Lynsey @ Eternally WanderLyn

      Right?! It’s nice to have much less stuff weighing you down! Unfortunately, the pups make it a little difficult to jet set around the world, otherwise I’d probably be gone by now. Hah. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • http://www.justmeleah.co.uk www.justmeleah.co.uk

    This is very true. I struggle with a maximalist lifestyle because I grew up in real poverty – days between meals sometimes – and I never had anything new. Now I’m an adult although those days are far behind me I do still have the urge to buy allllll the things, and I know it’s a sickness. I guess knowing is half the battle. Believe me, next time we move I’d best be sorting my life out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • http://www.wanderlyn.com/ Lynsey @ Eternally WanderLyn

      I definitely think that’s a common situation. My parents grew up very poor and while we weren’t exactly rolling in the money, they always tried to make sure we didn’t feel it. My father worked tons of overtime and my mom was really good at discount shopping throughout the year. Even now, they still like to buy us and my nieces all the things. We have to remind them sometimes that we don’t need it.

  • http://www.thegrassisdancing.com/ Claire

    Argh tell me about it! I am currently hiding from the mountain of junk in my attic. I rented out my apartment for a few months while I went back to London, so stuck most of my personal stuff up there, and now I’m torn between missing some of the books I know are up there… and terrified to face it!

    • http://www.wanderlyn.com/ Lynsey @ Eternally WanderLyn

      I must admit books are my weakness, but even I wouldn’t want to tackle those boxes. Haha. I still have a few I need to sort through in my garage. Here’s hoping we both find the will to face to them. Good luck!