I have a confession to make. I used to be an addict.
Not to alcohol, drugs or any other substance.
I was addicted to stuff.
In fact, my older brother and I used to joke that “he who dies with the most stuff wins”. Seriously.
I would blindly purchase whatever caught my eye, without stopping to ask if that thing really added value to my life (or if I really wanted it, rather than it just looking cool in the shop window).
The big culprit was t-shirts. Oh man, the t-shirts. I remember counting at one point and having more than 50 t-shirts in my wardrobe. And I’m not even sure that was at the pinnacle of my consumption glory days.
Fast forward to today, and I’m playing The Minimalism Game, not sure how I’m going to even find 496 items in total.
But despite what some people may think, minimalism doesn’t require you to sell all your stuff, abandon technology and move to the mountains.
Rather, it’s about surrounding yourself only with the people and things that add value to your life; nothing more and nothing less. There’s no specific number of items that makes you a minimalist, which also means that my minimalism will look different to your minimalism.
I’m not sure when or how it was that I fell in love with minimalism, but since adopting a simpler lifestyle, I’ve seen immense benefits in my life.
I’ve highlighted a few of these below.
9 REASONS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
1. You become happier and more grateful.
With fewer distractions around you, the small things in life are given room to be noticed. Whereas previously you were fixated on your stuff, suddenly things like sunsets, birds singing or simply a blue sky become far more appreciated. You also become more grateful for the things that remain after simplifying, realizing that you have everything you need to be happy.
2. You are able to travel more.
By owning less, there’s not as much holding you down if you decide to travel. This could be a permanent change in residence or even just a holiday. Either way, fewer possessions means fewer things to have to move or (cringe) store. Not being tied down by stuff also means you have more time for random adventures.
3. Your relationships improve.
Minimalism is not just about getting rid of stuff, but also removing negative relationships in our lives that don’t serve us. In this way, you are left with friends who make you feel good, which allows you to thrive. I’m sure you’ve heard about being the average of the 5 people you hang out with the most, right?
4. Quality over quantity.
As I mentioned earlier, minimalism doesn’t mean owning as little as possible or living as frugally as possible. It’s about living only with that which you truly need. That said, when you do decide to purchase something, you’ll learn to appreciate quality items. This has been a fun one for me. I still like having stuff, but because I don’t buy a lot of it, I make sure the things I do buy are quality.
5. Your wallet will thank you.
It amazes me how so many people complain about not having enough money, yet they become almost oblivious to their spending. With fewer regular expenses and stuff purchased, you end up with more money each month to put towards more worthwhile causes. This may be for savings, your own business, a travel fund or investing in yourself.
6. You start liking everything you wear.
One of the main areas where most of us can declutter is our wardrobe. And I don’t mean only wearing black t-shirts (funny story for another day). When I started to remove the clothes I hardly ever wore, I was left only with things I really like wearing. I now save loads of time getting dressed and always feel good about what I’m wearing. Plus, being more intentional about your wardrobe allows you to develop your own personal style, rather than wearing what the magazines are selling you.
7. You become more productive.
Becoming a minimalist won’t give you more time (nothing can), but it does allow you to use your time more effectively. This is because you start to declutter your schedule in much the same way as your stuff, but also because you have fewer things to organize, meaning you spend less time searching for stuff and creating a more productive working space.
8. You become less stressed.
Our external world plays a big role in our internal world. When we allow our physical environment to become cluttered, it creates stress in our minds and we become overwhelmed by everything we need to do (I’m looking at you with the big to-do list).
9. You become more creative.
Question: when do you get your best ideas? If you’re anything like me, it’s when you’re out for a walk, in the shower or driving. This is because we create space for ideas to emerge, and it’s the same when we declutter.
(Note: The article above was based on a guest post I wrote for Lifehack.)
OVER TO YOU…
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you live a minimalist lifestyle? What benefits have you noticed from simplifying your life? Shoot me a tweet @BryanTeare. Alternatively, hit reply on my email newsletter.
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