The benefits of owning less

This is a blog post about my introduction to minimalism and why I live a more minimal life ever since. The benefits of minimalism reach into many areas of my life like mental health, finances and time management.

One of the first things that people learn about me is that I absolutely love Australia. It seems so pure with its beautiful culture and nature. In Down Under you can find any landscape formation from glaciers to rainforests to the desert. Its flora and fauna often triggers in me the imagination that when it was created the universe spilled a bucket full of all the colours of the spectrum over it. Birds we only know as pets in Austria can live and fly there in freedom. This place seems magical to me. Early on in my childhood due to my love for this country I made the decision to move to Australia one day.

Then the  question came up, how I am supposed to move all my belongings down there. Since I live in Austria, Australia isn’t right around the corner. But then one of my friends introduced me to the solution: Minimalism.

What is minimalism?

It is all about living a meaningful life through owning less. That doesn’t  mean that you have to toss everything out and sleep on a gymnastic mat only because you accidently got rid of your bed as well.

Through getting rid of all the things which don’t bring value to your life you may realise that it frees up a lot of extra space and time. When I started to simplify my life, I mainly wanted to be able to move to different places, like Australia more freely. I didn’t want my stuff to tie me to one specific location. 

Minimalism isn’t about getting rid of everything, it is rather about only having things which truly bring joy to your life.

Love people. Use things. The opposite never works. -The Minimalists

What are the benefits?

When I drew my focus away from compulsive consumption, I was able to focus more on the things mattering the most to me like creating, health, relationships and personal growth. When there is less stuff laying around, my focus and productivity is higher. Less stuff also means less tidying. As well as that I realised what was truly important to me. Since I want to live a meaningful and intentional life, my goal is to live a life which fires me up and to be excited about going to work and getting up in the morning. I don’t see much sense in owning five cookbooks if I hardly ever use them, but only because I don’t find much value in them doesn’t mean nobody else does. So why not give them to someone who actually enjoys them?

We were meant to live simply enjoying the experiences of life, the people of life, and the journey of life – not the things of life. -Joshua Becker

What did I do?

I grew up in a family who loves collecting things. Which isn’t bad or anything, it is just something which complicated my journey to living a more minimal life. When I first got in touch with minimalism I went through my room and asked myself: “Have I used this in the last 3 months and am I going to use it in the next few months?” With many things like notebooks or shirts I was sure that I wasn’t going to use them any time soon. But why didn’t I already try to find a new home for them then? I had kept it just in case I might need it one day.

To be totally honest, I probably had this thought about every single item. To overcome it, I like to put the things I might get rid of in a box and see, if I missed them over the course of a few months. If I do, I take them out of my little box immediately. If I don’t, I donate them, sell them or give them to friends. 

In the past I sometimes had phases in which I wanted to get rid of everything. When friends came over I used to ask them if they wanted to have whatever I saw lying around. I am glad this is over though, because sometimes I found myself offering things to people which I actually still needed! Today every now and then a good friend of mine and I go through all of our stuff and declutter anything we don’t use anymore.

Another habit of mine is to make the books I don’t read anymore to travelling books. In case you don’t know what I am talking about, those are books which the reader after reading them, gives to another person. That way you don’t have lots of books in your bookshelf you wouldn’t read anyway and instead having them appreciated by others.

As you can see, I am really passionate about this topic and I would probably be able to write a lot more about it, but I have tried to keep the message simple. I really hope you found some value in this post.
In case you want to start your journey to a more minimal life right now, I have a challenge for you. 

Walk around your home and look at your possessions, is there anything you don’t really use anymore? Remember, minimalism is about only owning the things which truly have a purpose in your life and add value.