Ever since I started my journey towards financial independence, I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about minimalism. Basically, the idea behind minimalism is to cut ties with as many of your physical possessions as possible. The more clutter you have, the more cluttered your mind will be. Your brain has to process information each time you look at an item you own. Since you can only think of so many things before your brain gets fatigued, it’s best to eliminate anything that isn’t necessary.
The average American household contains over 300,000 items. We’ve been programmed to buy, buy, buy with no end in sight. This results in accumulating so much stuff, we don’t even remember what we have.
The old saying; less is more, definitely has some truth to it because every item you get rid of frees up space in your brain to focus on other things. Not only does minimalism apply to physical items, but it can be applied in almost every aspect of our lives. You should try to cut down any and all distractions that aren’t going to benefit you or the people around you.
Where do you start?
The idea of minimalism is super simple. Actually implementing it into your life could be a bit overwhelming though. For starters, I would go to your closet and pull out anything you haven’t worn in the past year. If you haven’t worn the clothes in the past 12 months, you aren’t going to ever wear them again most likely. Sell the clothes on eBay or donate them.
After you’ve gone through your closet, pick a room to go through and make a pile of everything that you don’t even have to think twice about getting rid of. Go through your entire house. Since we live in such a consumer society, I’m sure you’ve got a considerable pile of stuff to get rid of now.
Now that you’ve cleaned things up a bit, it’s time to start looking at the things in your house that you feel like are sentimental. I’m not saying you should get rid of every last item in your house but if you’ve got stuff in a drawer that you haven’t touched in years, it’s time to let go. Simplifying your life is worth more than some vague feeling you get every few months you see a particular item.
Minimalism isn’t just owning less things.
On the non-physical side of things, go through your phone and delete any apps you haven’t used in the past month or two. Clean up your inbox and unsubscribe to every last email that you don’t want to continue receiving.
Not only should you minimize your physical and digital items/distractions, you should strive to implement minimalism into where you spend your time. Learn to say no when someone asks you to do something you don’t have time to do. Spreading yourself too thin isn’t wise and is a huge source of stress.
Break the materialistic mindset.
Getting rid of your stuff is great but if you continue to acquire things at a rapid rate, you’ll end up with a full house again in a few years. You have to kill the part of your brain that wants to continue buying things. That might be hard to do, but when you realize your happiness doesn’t depend on what you own, it gets easier.
The reason why minimalism contributes to your pursuit of becoming a millionaire is because you will save a lot of money by not buying as much stuff. The less stuff you buy, the less money you need, the quicker you will hit your financial goals. To most people it’s probably the opposite but I truly enjoy seeing how far I can take minimalism. To some I might still be considered a spendy ultra consumer though.
So, what are the actual benefits of minimalism?
- Spending less. The need to buy less things results in having more money to put into investments.
- More focus. When you have less to think about, you can put more focus on the things that matter most.
- Stress less. Having less in your life = less stress.
- Being more productive. You’ll have more time to get things done when you start cutting out any unnecessary distraction in your life.
- Cleaner house. The less you own, the easier it is to clean.
- More freedom. The minimalist lifestyle is truly a freer one.
- Helps the environment. The less we consume, the less of an impact we have on the planet.
- Own higher quality items. If you make fewer purchases, you can afford to buy better quality things when you do decide to buy something.
- Cut ties with the past. You can’t move forward if you’re constantly looking in the rear-view mirror.
- Find things quicker. Not being able to find things is a clear indicator that you have too much stuff.
- Have less to lose. If you cut ties with the things you own, you have less to be upset about in the case of a house fire or other forms of loss.
- Have less to haul. The less you own, the easier it is to move and travel.
I’m sure a lot of you that read this won’t see the point in getting rid of your stuff. You might think you’re happy living life and buying whatever you want whenever you want. If that’s the case, I challenge you to stop going shopping for at least a month and see if you feel any less happy. If you’ll give it a chance, you might find a whole new lifestyle that you really enjoy.