Always seeking more? Sometimes, the path to happiness lies in seeking less – as I’m discussing in a new series of blogs on the benefits of slow consumption and minimalism for mental health. Welcome to living with less.
Living with less stuff
Living with less stuff has a lot of benefits.
It means less visual clutter – meaning I’m able to enjoy the items I do own. It means being able to find things, being able to tidy up easily, and being able to live in a fairly small space – pretty crucial, when you live in an expensive city like London.
For me, it also means less stress. I find that living with less stuff helps my mental health, because I feel strangely angsty when I’m surrounded by piles of crap. I’m not supremely tidy or anything (my desk at work: lol) – but who doesn’t love going to sleep in a peaceful, zen bedroom? Or cooking in an organised kitchen?
The financial benefits of minimalism
Generally speaking, it also helps me financially. This point is a thorny issue in the minimalist conversation. Minimalism definitely has a reputation for being a rich, single white guy hobby.
But the ‘buy fewer things that are higher quality’ ethos doesn’t have to break the bank. I’m not suggesting you swap Primark for Balenciaga. A lot of people have written about how minimalism can help with budgeting, or even using minimalism to get out of debt.
Personally, it’s a case of saving by cutting out impulse shopping. In the past, I could easily spend a few hundred pound a month on clothes, make-up and books. Even when I didn’t have the money to spend – because I was buying fast fashion, it never felt like a big financial impact at the time.
Now, I think about every purchase before I make it. I recently bought some Veja trainers to replace the converse I took backpacking (farewell, faithful friends – too rancid even for the charity shop).
I’ve wanted them since Christmas, so I can definitely say I’ve thought about it carefully. Hopefully, they’ll last for years to come as they’re high quality. (And they have fairly solid eco and ethical credentials. But that’s another blog post.)
Just because it’s right for me, it won’t be right for everybody. For some people, having lots of things around them is a comfort.
But if you do feel stressed out by your stuff, or aggravated every time you look in your wardrobe, or angsty just at the side of your bedside cupboard – then give decluttering a go.
Set yourself a month challenge of not buying anything outside of food, travel, and toiletries. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
ENJOYED THE BENEFITS OF LIVING WITH LESS STUFF? READ MORE FROM THE NICER THOUGHTS BLOG