I did an earlier post where I listed five reasons for wanting to live a simpler life.
Then I told you how to clean out your closet.
What I didn’t do, however, was focus on why I believed owning less is beneficial for you.
I probably should have done that first, since owning less is one of the steps towards a simpler life.
Here are my reasons, based on my own experience:
1. Better control over finances.
Things cost money. Less things means less money spent and more in your wallet. Having less things also means it costs less to maintain your stuff. Have you ever noticed that the more things you have, the more things you need to buy to store them in (whether it be a box, a storage unit, or a house)? Then you need to pay for any repairs, cleaning [supplies], replacements, and so forth. Things drain wallets and put you in debt. Do you really want to acquire something that you will be paying off for the next ten years or incur more credit card debt?
2. Environmental impact.
Less stuff usually means less waste. Too many things these days are made to be disposable, and a lot of people buy in bulk because things can be quickly used and thrown away. Not only that, but many items are packaged and wrapped in paper and plastics that get tossed immediately. Cutting back on these items cuts back on the amount of waste. I highly recommend checking out The Story of Stuff video if you haven’t already. In the video, Annie Leonard goes in depth on what really happens behind the process of making and trashing/recycling our stuff.
3. Less pressure to keep up with the Joneses.
Often, our buying habits are fueled by others: our friends, families, and the media (advertisements on television, in magazines, on the internet). We see something cool or beautiful somewhere else and think, “I’ve got to have that!” And why? Why do we think we need that? Some things may be necessary but most things aren’t. Clothes change with fashion. A new phone seems to come out once or twice a year. Cars are updated. Homes are renovated and decorated. But do we really need it all? Who are we trying to impress?
4. Less clutter.
Nothing is more irksome than tripping over a pile of clothes on the floor or losing your bills in the big pile of junk on your kitchen counter. Or how about trying to find space for the third china cabinet that you’ve acquired? Soon your home is filled with stuff hidden in every nook and cranny until you don’t know what to do with it anymore and just keep adding more! Visual clutter contributes to mental clutter. How do you feel when you have an empty shelf? A clean counter with one lone candle? A spotless floor? You feel calm, relaxed, peaceful.
Less means packing a lighter purse, backpack, bag, or none at all! While I do have a purse, I love sticking my wallet in my pocket and running out the door. Owning less also means you can pick up and move quickly. As someone that has moved seven times in the last four years, I know what a pain it is to pack and move. I also know how awesome it is to have less each time and friends remark, “I can’t believe how little you have!” You also don’t have a burden of worrying about taking care of your things (should they break or you’re out of town or whatever). Having less makes you free.
What are your reasons for wanting to own less?