When you hear the term “minimalist living” it’s easy to imagine having to ditch all of your stuff in an effort to fit the requirements of being a “minimalist”. It’s common to picture a bare, empty house with nothing on the walls and very little furniture. Minimalism is often confused with anti-materialism which is impractical and not what it’s all about.
Minimalist living is all about focusing on the things we value most in life and removing everything else that distracts us from them. That means holding on to all the things that contribute positively to your passions and hobbies. Getting rid of the clutter and unnecessary things in your life will make way for you to live a more fulfilled and meaningful life.
How Can Minimalist Living Change Your Life?
Minimalism is different for everyone, as each person lives a different life. It’s about finding what’s right for you in terms of fitting to your own unique lifestyle. You need to determine what your goal is and how minimalist living can benefit you.
For us, our main goal is the freedom to travel more. After living abroad and travelling for the past 7 years, I’ve learned that minimalist living isn’t about being deprived of having stuff, it’s about living an enriched life full of experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything!
I’ve put together a list of the 5 different ways that minimalist living has helped to change my life:
As humans, it’s normal to become emotionally attached to our possessions. More often than not, as we accumulate more and more we begin to feel like our possessions own us, a feeling of being trapped. When you let go of the things that don’t serve a real purpose, you then realize that your belongings don’t have anything to do with your identity.
This feeling is liberating and it gives you a greater sense of self. Having more and better stuff will not make you a better person. You are more than your possessions.
2. Save Money
Everyday we’re bombarded with ads telling us where and how to spend our money and it’s natural to want to keep up with the next person who has always has the latest and greatest stuff. Consumerism is an endless cycle that will leave you feeling inadequate and unfulfilled.
Are you trying to get out of debt? Or are you trying to save up to travel? Buying less stuff and getting out of the consumerist mentality will naturally help with either of these situations. Easier said than done, I know. By making an effort to ask yourself “do I really need this?” before you buy another unnecessary thing is a start in the right direction!
3. Travel More
Owning less possessions is the main reason we’ve been able to travel as much as possible over the years. We currently live in a one bedroom flat in a small town in Kent (the southeast of England). We don’t own a car (it would be nice to have one but this forces us to be more active as well as save tons of money!), we eat out on occasion, we buy what we need and we live a pretty basic life while we’re at home.
All of these things contribute to the fact that we love to spend our time, energy and focus on being able to see the world; this is our number one priority. By not having things like pets, kids, mortgage etc. tying us to one location, we gain the freedom to travel whenever we want.
I know this isn’t possible for everyone as we all have unique responsibilities, however if your goal is to travel more often, you need to ask yourself: what can I live without?
4. More Focus
It’s been proven that having less clutter and distractions lying around helps you to have a clear mind and improves your focus. Being able to concentrate on only one thing at a time without getting side tracked leads to better productivity.
When I’m trying to accomplish things (ie. trying to write a blog post and checking Instagram 100 times), it’s best to completely remove all distractions from my sight, because if I don’t see them, they can’t distract me right?
Well, imagine having a clean house without all the clutter and unnecessary things taking up space in your day-to-day life. Having a tidy, organized living space not only improves productivity and focus but it also helps to lift your mood and brings happiness.
It’s the process of clearing out the physical junk that helps with de-cluttering the mind so that you can spend more time and energy on the things that you actually want to accomplish. Whether that’s more travel, achieving fitness goals, or spending more time with your kids.
5. Prioritize Experiences
In 10 years from now, will you look back with fondness at that epic shopping spree you went on? Studies have shown that experiences like spending time with loved ones, travelling the world, hiking in the mountains etc. provide far greater memories than accumulating the things we think will buy us happiness.
Nearly a decade later, I look back on my first solo backpacking trip with fondness and nostalgia. There isn’t one single material item that makes me feel this way. Those were times that cannot be replaced or recreated, forever living on in my memory, immortalised by photos.
To sum things up, experiences provide more meaning, lasting memories, and more happiness than any material possession has the potential to. I’ll let my favourite quote do the talking:
“Collect moments, not things.”
We don’t consider ourselves to be “true” minimalists (we still own stuff, dare I say more than we really need to survive), but we have seen many positive outcomes from adopting a more minimalist approach to life. From simply shifting our focus away from the societal expectations of settling down, buying a house and filling it with a bunch of stuff, we’ve been able to find our own version of happiness in the freedom that we’ve created for ourselves.
Minimalist living will look different for everyone as we all have our own goals and priorities in life. Now, we’re not telling you to go and throw all your stuff in the bin and expect immediate happiness, it doesn’t really work like that. Minimalism is about living with intention and finding meaning in each day. It’s about living for the things that make us happy, the things we often neglect to make time for because we’re too caught up with life’s daily demands.
You have to remember that these things ARE just as important as the mundane tasks we find ourselves consumed with on a daily basis. We only get one chance at this thing called life. Stop putting off that trip you’ve been dreaming of, what if that day never comes? Do you want to look back on your life with regret that you didn’t take that chance on doing something you’ve always dreamed of?
The benefits of minimalist living are simply too good to be ignored and we hope we can inspire you to see things from a different perspective.
Read More About Minimalist Living
- 21 Minimalist Lifestyle Tips to Simplify Your Life
- How to Develop a Minimalist Mindset to Boost Your Travel Savings
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Great article and one that really resonates with me since I systematically decided to retire early, downsize and adopt a more minimalistic attitude with the ultimate goal of travelling more! Hmmm… we sure think alike! 🤣
Thank you for reading! There is really nothing like having the freedom to do what you want and go where you want 🙂
I think I have an addiction to minimalism. I’m not an extremist but the feeling of just getting rid of one item feels so amazing! I’m not sure if it has affected any other part of my life other than me not spending as much on useless household things, but I can see how it can be really advantageous for some! Less time cleaning, more time with friends or activities you like to do; Less money spent, more money for travelling or for buying better products, etc. I really hope more people get on this bandwagon and see all the great things that you listed that come with minimalism!
Thank you for reading 🙂 I totally agree with you! The feeling of getting rid of stuff is so liberating. We’ve just gone through another overseas move which has helped us to cut down even further and it feels great!
Great points. More travel is something I definitely need to experience.
Minimalism has trained me to automatically make better decisions that lead to me being happier. Like on autopilot. LOL.
Yes! That is what it’s all about! 😀