• Connie Riet

Realistic ways to own LESS stuff ~ Minimalist Lifestyle


Owning less allows me to be content and appreciate what I have.


There is no perfect way to live a minimalist lifestyle. There is no magic number of things you should own or a list of items you need to do without.

Our lives are each unique, with different lifestyles, family arrangements, hobbies, and goals. Your minimalist journey should reflect the varied aspects of your life.


BE INTENTIONAL

For me, minimalism is about being mindful of my material items. I’m intentional about the possessions I own.

Whether it is an item I’m considering buying or something I already own,

I determine if an item has a place in my home by asking a few questions.


“Do I need it?”

“Do I love it?”

“Does it add value to my life?”


Needs are the essentials in life, like dishes, clothes, cleaning supplies, food, and computer.


An example of an Item I love is my great mother’s glass canisters. I don’t need glass canisters to hold flour and sugar, but they have so many memories of my grandmother and mother using them.




The things that add value to my life would be my yoga mat because yoga keeps me healthy, and my knitting because it relaxes me, and I thoroughly enjoy it. The things that add value to our lives will vary depending on where we live, our hobbies, and our lifestyle.


Being mindful of my possessions eliminates impulsive shopping and keeps my home clutter-free. I have the things I need, love, and that add value.


WANT LESS

There have been times in my life when I wanted more. Sometimes, discontent stemmed from past experiences, feeling like I deserved more, or trying to fill an emotional void.


When I want more, when I’m not in an emotional place of gratitude, when I’m not grateful for the things I have in my life, I always want more, regardless of how much I already have. The endless pit of desire can never be filled until I recognize all I have.


When I am grateful, I am content.


DECIDING WHAT MATTERS

I let go of the things that weigh me down to make room for the things that matter most. Possessions take up both physical & emotional space.

I become anxious, distracted, and agitated when my home is cluttered. Everything takes longer for me to do because I can’t find what I’m looking for easily. The more stuff I have, the more effort it takes to clean, organize and move.


I’ve lived in small spaces before, which taught me to prioritize what I valued. I had to make tough choices when I only had a tiny closet because not all of my clothes would fit.


I have found that I always have room for what’s important to me. Once I have prioritized how I want to feel in my home and the objects I value, it’s easy to let go of the rest.


LET GO

It’s hard to let go of our things because we are emotionally attached to many items. Keepsakes that we look at only occasionally can often fill a room.


Along our minimalist journey and moving several times, my husband and I have downsized our keepsakes from many large boxes to only one small box each. Looking through my box of childhood toys and high school memorabilia, I am forced to question why I have them.

If these things meant so much to me, why do I keep them sealed in a box?

Do I need a physical object to recall the memory?

How long do I plan on keeping these things?

How many more times will I move them?


We will all have different responses to these questions and choose to keep the things that mean the most to us.

There is no right way to practice minimalism. It’s essential to Honor where you’re at today. If it’s too difficult to let go of some memorabilia, then keep it.


SPEND LESS

There is a direct correlation between what I own and how much I spend. Suppose I want to own less than I need to spend less on stuff. I find that doing a budget helps to manage my money. When I plan out my finances for the month, I think about where I want my money to go.


SLOW TO "YES"

When I was young, I quickly said yes to something I liked and impulsively bought it. Over time I have learned how to say yes slowly. If I do come across something that catches my eye, I don’t believe it immediately. I will give it a few days or longer and evaluate if it is something I need, love, or improve my life. Most of the time, by the next day, I had forgotten all about the cute trinket I saw. If it is something that I feel valuable, then I feel good about the intentional purchase.


GET A HOBBY Shopping is not a hobby of mine… anymore.

Many years ago, when I was bored, I would go shopping, not because I needed something, but because I was looking to pass the time. Shopping was also a convenient way to meet up with friends. I would shop as a form of entertainment. I was buying meaningless things for the sake of just buying.

Shopping has been marketed as a form of entertainment. There are usually coffee shops or restaurants nearby, with several stores close to each other in a small area, making it convenient to spend several hours shopping.

I have a different relationship with shopping now.

I don’t expect a store to entertain.

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