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 – 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?
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.
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.
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.
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 Quinceñera, 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.
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.