The Joy of “Less Is More”

There’s a reason the saying “less is more” exists. People apply this to be effective communicators, cut out unnecessary resources in business or even use it as a mantra for their fashion choices. But this statement can also be used when you think of all the “stuff” you have hanging out in your life — both physical and emotional.

“Less is more,” when it comes to material goods, seems to go against the adage that having more and buying more will bring you greater happiness. The culture of today is one defined by “I need that,” when it’s really only an enticement to buy the latest trend and throw out the old. But buying new things won’t bring you true happiness. The opposite, in fact, seems to be true and practicing minimalism comes with a number of benefits that will improve your quality of life.

Even Science Connects Minimalism to Greater Happiness

Countless studies have been done since the 1970s to explore the relationships between materialism and happiness. Material things do buy happiness to an extent, but it’s short-lived. It becomes a cycle that you’ll need to satiate often to maintain your endorphin levels and the “high” associated with a new TV, purse or pair of shoes. It’s why consumer culture is so successful.

But let’s bring it back for just a moment. Not all buying is bad. How you spend your hard-earned dollars is just as important as how much you actually make. It’s quality over quantity. What minimalism can do is help you re-examine your priorities not just in your spending habits, but in all other areas of your life, as well. You’ll be able to remove the unnecessary and invaluable and focus on quality things that are more fulfilling.

How do you get started? Here are six ways to help you cut out the unnecessary and help prioritize the things that truly matter for your happiness.

1. Simply Spend Less

Reevaluate your entire monthly budget. When it comes to prioritizing what’s necessary, ask yourself the question: “Do I need it?” Then, hold that object for one minute. If it doesn’t bring you joy, let it go. If you’re unsure of that method, here are ten other ways to help you own less. You’ll find that developing the habit of responsible spending will both save you money and allow for less clutter in your life.

2. Less Stuff Will Render You More Time

How is that possible? Well, you’ll find that you begin to focus more on experiences than things. You’ll prioritize your day differently, use saved money to do activities that bring your joy and actually have less to clean and organize, which is always a bonus.

3. When You Let Go, Reorganize

The beauty of purging your closets and drawers means you also get to reorganize the space. This does wonders for your mental state — not just the appearance of your humble abode. But don’t overwhelm yourself! Start with one room, like the kitchen (because let’s be honest: it tends to be a catch-all for just about everything), and give it a fresh start, just like your mentality.

4. Lighten Your Stress Load

If you think about why purging your house feels like a weight has been lifted, it’s because possessions weigh us down. They add unnecessary stress to your life, especially if you can’t technically afford the things you purchase. Let them go, and the stress will follow.

5. Get Back in Touch With Your Spiritual Side

There have been studies done that connect minimalism with spirituality — whatever that realm is for you personally. Having a greater spiritual awareness allows the mind to be clearer, calmer and better equipped to handle the trials that life throws at you. It also helps maintain balance, and allows you to concentrate on aspects that bring you joy, which is what life is really all about.

6. Find Freedom From the Culture of Consumerism

Yes, freedom. When you’re constantly bombarded by the mantra of “buy, buy, buy” and “more, more, more,” it’s easy to succumb to it and be caught up in the newest trends and keeping up with the Joneses. But once you decide to prioritize the things of value in your life, you’ll find that stepping away from that culture of consuming is like taking wing and being set free. You’ll never want to go back to the way you lived life before. 

So, you see, minimalism isn’t about getting by with as little as possible. Instead, it’s about deciding what’s actually necessary to give you a fulfilling and joyful life. You can lower your stress, feel more organized, have more time (and money) for activities you enjoy and, above all, be free of the chains mass consumerism.