Monday, March 2, 2020

Surprising Benefits of Minimalism

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There are so many great aspects of minimalism.  My home looks great and it's so much easier to clean.  My life is much less stressful and full of the things that matter.  Although a lot of the benefits have been obvious, there are even more that I wasn't expecting:


I'm more honest about sentimental attachments.  I have my stuffed bear and that's about it.  I used to have a lot of little collections, like birthday cards and shot glasses from vacations, but I realized that I wasn't actually sentimentally attached to that item, nor should I be.  It's just a glass.  I stopped attaching feelings to things and instead attached them where they should be - to people and pets and memories.  And anything that I do keep means it's really special and I'm able to appreciate it more.

I have more money.  I don't think people necessarily set out to be minimalists for the financial aspect, they just want to have less clutter in their lives.  But having more money has been a natural side effect of the process.  Not only am I no longer spending on acquiring new items, but I'm also not spending on maintaining items by way of regular cleanings or insurance.

I'm more generous.  With my stuff, money, and time.  While I was decluttering things, I tried to push past the 'I might need this one day' feeling, because it's actually pretty selfish.  The fact is that I didn't need it and hadn't needed it in years, whereas if I donated it or gave it to a friend, that item would actually be used and appreciated.  I'm also more generous in terms of donated money because when you don't shop or need to buy a lot of 'things,' it really frees up room in your budget to do better things with that cash.  And I can be more generous with my time, volunteering or helping when family or friends need me, because I'm not tied down to maintaining my items.  I don't have a lot to clean, I don't have a car I need to take in for oil changes or car washes, I'm not shopping or running things to the dry cleaner, etc.  Not having to care for all these things has freed up so much time that I can then give generously to other people.

I'm more flexible.  When I made some honest decisions about my items, I had to be flexible in letting things go, which has made me a more flexible person overall because I became really clear on what's important.  And it's not stuff.  I'm also not tied to a schedule around stuff - cleaning, buying, maintaining - so I can drop things related to my belongings when an actual person in my life needs me.  No stress, no feeling like my house is falling by the wayside in the meantime.

I'm more intentional about socializing.  Minimalism taught me to value my own time and resources.  I don't automatically say yes anymore when people invite me to things, especially things that would cost a lot or bring more clutter into my life.  I only choose the things that I'm really excited about, rather than just going shopping with a friend for no reason.

I have better relationships.  Because I don't participate in the more mindless events that I don't love, I have better friendships.  I'm just more fun when out doing something I actually enjoy.  I also minimized my social media and silly apps - it's so much better to be able to sit and talk with someone and not be distracted by my phone.  I don't feel the need to document every moment on instagram so instead I spend quality time with friends and family doing things we put more thought into.  And I just straight up minimized the people in my life that were too stressful or dramatic, so I have more time for the awesome people who aren't draining to be around.

I'm healthier.  Stuff and shopping can be a real distraction from other things, like not exercising or eating well.  It's easy to claim you don't have time.  But when I minimized the other things, and in particular minimized my bad, plastic-filled shopping habits, I realized that I had loads of time to cook the right foods from scratch and even get on the treadmill regularly.  Minimalism is about making room for what matters.  When I cut out all the busyness for the sake of being busy, I had so much more time to be healthier.

I have more freedom.  For all the reasons above.  Not being tied to my belongings at home means that I have more freedom, to do what I want when I want.  And it also leaves me free to pursue a different career if I wanted or to retire early - I simply don't need that much money to maintain this lifestyle.  It's a great feeling to know that I'm not tied to this paycheck.

Have you adopted minimalism or a simpler life?  Experienced any of these same benefits from it?

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