How to start living a minimalist life with less stuff and more happiness

We have become a society where Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! is no longer an ABBA song, but a philosophy. Our daily lives now revolve around material possessions — the best and biggest homes, the most advanced gadgets, the fastest cars, and the latest fashion —  to the point that we break out backs and exhaust our bank accounts to get them. However, this lifestyle can only go so far in terms of happiness. Big homes depreciate over time. Fast cars are easily replaced by new models. Gadgets are practically overproduced; what looks cool now could be passé tomorrow. This just proves that more is not essentially better. The old adage of “less is more” might be a better disposition after all.

Minimalism, a lifestyle that supports the removal of all things distracting and unnecessary, is marked by a clear intention to be free from all the hustle and bustle of modern life., an online self-help site, has included seven definitions of minimalism.

According to the website, minimalism is the intention to give up unnecessary possessions and to live with only the things needed to survive. Minimalism promotes freedom from material things. The lifestyle values outside factors such as relationships, experiences, and soul-care. It also frees people from the unwanted hysteria of living life in a rush.

The practice helps people to go beyond a life of duplicity. While being an inevitable lifestyle, living in duplicity requires people to portray different images for certain social circles. Minimalism eliminates duplicity by promoting a united and consistent lifestyle. Furthermore, minimalism helps people to assess themselves internally to improve relationships. The lifestyle is counter-cultural and is completely achievable, the website says.

Seven simple ways to jump start your minimalist lifestyle

  1. Clothes — Statistics show that people wear 20 percent of their clothes 80 percent of the time. This means that most closets contain clothes people no longer wear, which in turn takes up too much space. Removing all unused clothes may help clear the closet space, which makes for less stressful mornings.
  2. Decorations — Most home decors do not hold personal value to the owners. Most decors may either be items purchased from a sale, or something that matches the house’s color scheme. Decors, especially intricate ones, distract the visitors’ attention and makes communication a bit harder. It is recommended that homeowners scan their house with a discerning eye to leave only the most meaningful and beautiful decorations behind. Old decors can be dispatched through a garage sale.
  3. Toys — Today’s children are no exception when it comes to hoarding unnecessary possessions such as toys. This results in reduced creativity and perceptions of valuable traits such as being helpful, careful, and sharing. While dispatching old toys might be an issue with your child, chances are, these toys will be forgotten over time.
  4. Cooking utensils — Most kitchens contain many cooking utensils that are otherwise unnecessary. Clear your kitchen of clutter by putting unneeded cooking utensils in a plastic bin and stash them away somewhere out of sight.
  5. Televisions — A Nielsen survey showed that an average person spends more than four hours on television daily. Data also showed that typical American homes have 2.73 T.V. sets. Try owning fewer T.V. sets. Doing so will reduce screen time and may help the family bond by watching together.
  6. Counter-tops — Clutter is a staple for counter-tops. Clear counter-tops of unnecessary clutter by storing them in drawers, cabinets and pantries.
  7. Furniture — Removing excess furniture from your house may instantly provide space and promote airflow in the house.

There is a misconception that this lifestyle choice entails sacrifice — a term negatively associating with “giving up” all the good in the world. However, it must be stressed that simple changes to one’s routine can dramatically impact quality of life. Instead of worrying about that new gizmo, place your focus on improving your body and mental state.

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