Minimalism and Why Your Stuff Owns You

I’ve come across minimalism multiple times over the past few years. The concept has aligned with other ideas in my life that I am working on like: spending less, paying down debt, simplifying.

I’m referring to minimalism as it pertains to living life and not art or architecture as it is more commonly known.

Here is what the guys at The Minimalists have to say about it:

But how can these people be so different and yet still be minimalists? That brings us back to our original question: what is minimalism? If we had to sum it up in a single sentence, we would say, Minimalism is a tool used to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.

Minimalism has helped us:

  • Eliminate our discontent
  • Reclaim our time
  • Live in the moment
  • Discover our missions
  • Experience real freedom
  • Create more, consume less
  • Focus on our health
  • Grow as individuals
  • Contribute beyond ourselves
  • Rid ourselves of excess stuff
  • Discover purpose in our lives

By incorporating minimalism into our lives, we’ve finally been able to find lasting happiness. And let’s face it: that’s what we’re all looking for, isn’t it? We all want to be happy. Minimalists search for happiness not through things, but through life itself. Thus, it’s up to you to determine what is necessary and what is superfluous in your life.

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Reducing, Eliminating, Simplifying

I have wasted so much money over the years on stuff that I don’t need, is a bitch to move, and collects dust (of which I’m allergic too…Ironic right?). I’ve been on a mission this last month to eliminate and reduce what I own. I am donating at least $1500 of clothes I don’t wear, some completely brand new. I’m giving away my old books (besides the core classics), and I’m moving anything that I have to keep–like personal stuff–into storage.

They say: “stuff owns you.” I think I agree. It’s a weight lifted off my shoulders each time I get rid of something. It’s also a great way to reduce your spending.

Now, anytime I buy something, I  think:  “where will this go and do I really really need it?” This has taken my shopping down to just groceries and business purchases for the most part (and kindle books..they stay in the cloud..woohoo).

There’s nothing wrong with owning stuff but there is definitely something wrong when you have an attachment to it. I don’t own anything that would cause much harm if lost. I think this is how it should be (at least pertaining to tangible stuff).

If I lost every penny, business, and asset I own, I would still be ok. It would take a few years, but I would have it back soon enough. Just like when they asked Henry Ford what he would do if he lost his fortune.

He just smiled and cheekily said, “That’s ok, I’d have it back in 7 years.”

See, he understood what actually matters in life. It’s about the things that you can’t lose like knowledge, experience, and health.

Are you giving the things you own too much power? Are they owning you?

-Colin

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