When we think about minimalism or living with less, for many of us, images of frugal living with very little in the way of comfort come to mind. But this isn’t what living with less is about. Living with less allows you the space you need to live more freely. It enables you to live with more purpose because there is nothing to distract you from the things that are important to you. And it comes with side benefits too.
WHY LIVING WITH LESS IS A GOOD IDEA
You can make your money go further OR earn less
You’re able to live within your means or you can earn less. If this means working less too then the time you spend not working can be spent doing something you love. Which might be doing something that makes money!
You can clean your home a lot quicker and more easily
If your home doesn’t have piles of possessions, you’re able to clean a lot better and quickly. You don’t have to keep stopping to move stuff out of the way. Plus, there are fewer things to gather dust and dirt that need cleaning.
You can find things more easily
When you live with less, it’s so much easier to organise what you do have. This has the knock-on effect of being able to find what you need when you need it quickly and easily.
You have more time to spend with the people you want to spend time with
Having less frees up time because it’s quicker to do day to day tasks like cleaning and getting ready and out of your home. This is because it’s quicker to find what you need. You’ll discover that you get more done in a shorter time as your mind is clearer too. This efficiency leaves you with ample time which you can spend with your other half, your kids, your friends, your dog, anyone you want to. Or relaxing on your own.
You come to appreciate what you have and what you need
Having a lot of possessions means it’s challenging to take good care of everything. Items get shoved in cupboards and squashed in to make room for more stuff. If you only own what you need on a day to day basis, you can take good care of what you have as there is room to store everything well. You then come to appreciate what you have as you take care of things better.
You can see what’s important and what isn’t
A clear space means a clear mind. Instead of not being able to see the wood for the trees, you begin to appreciate each tree. You can see what really matters to you and have space to notice the little things that make a huge difference.
You can stop spending as much time doing things that don’t make you happy
Cleaning, organising, sorting, finding what you need, admin, washing, ironing. Unless doing any of these things excite you, and you look forward to doing them, then you don’t need to spend much time doing them when you live with less. There’s less of everything to do it to. And if you have less, then you may not need as much income too so you can stop working as much as well. Only if you don’t like doing that too of course.
It’s all good and well saying you should live with less and these are the reasons why. But HOW can you get to the point where you can live with less?
HOW TO LIVE WITH LESS
Plan! Don’t go into it not knowing what you want out of it.
Knowing what you want to get out of living with less helps to get you there. Visualise how you want to live in the space you have and set goals to get there. Break it down into small tasks and it will feel like a breeze. Think about what your real priorities are and what you need to do to prioritise them.
Heard of the 30-day challenge or the 13 things challenge. They’re a way of sampling living with less and taking on a challenge brings out the competitive nature in us. Have a look at the different minimalism challenges there are out there and pick one that best suits you and what you want to achieve.
Cancel subscriptions you don’t use or need
Gym subscriptions that you use only every couple of months. Magazine subscriptions that make the mountain of unread magazines in your front room grow. Beauty box subscriptions with half the items you never use and end up cluttering your bathroom cupboards. The list goes on. You get the idea.
Declutter and then purge regularly
Declutter and sell what you don’t use or need. Only keep what you use regularly. Ask yourself if you’re keeping things for the sake of it or for a ‘what if.’ Do you genuinely use the item daily or weekly. And answer honestly. Then when you’ve decluttered regularly purge what you have, to keep the clutter at bay.
Think before you buy new stuff
Ask yourself if you need it. Is it essential to your day to day living? If you purchased it next month, would you struggle without it? If you answer no, then you don’t need to buy it. Any big purchases, sleep on it for a week and decide if you feel the same about the item then.
Reuse and use what you do have until it is completely used up before buying a replacement. And when you do buy, buy high quality, so it lasts longer. You’re less likely to feel it is a throw-away item that needs replacing often. But remember, high cost doesn’t always mean better quality.
Walk more often
If you can walk somewhere, then do. If it takes less than half an hour walk there. Save some money in the process, get a bit healthier, and enjoy your surroundings.
Watch less TV
TV can drain your time, especially if you have a few TV’s in the house and you get caught up in a box set. Start by getting rid of the TV’s in the bedrooms and then only use the TV in the sitting room. You’ll find you don’t need all those TV’s and you end up with much more time for more important things instead.
Be grateful for what you have
When you have less, you are much more appreciative of what you do have. Try to spend your money more wisely and downgrade on your day to day purchases and items you use. Swap your brand name coffee for your homebrew and your brand name jeans for a high street option instead. This will help you to detach yourself from materialistic belongings. They are just ‘things’ after all.
Don’t give up. You don’t need to go all out to benefit from living with less. Even reducing your possessions a little can make a big difference. Start small and see where it might take you.
Get a FREE workbook on how to declutter when you subscribe to the FREE Live Differently digital magazine. You have nothing to lose apart from some unneeded possessions, and everything to gain.
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash