At Wishlist we are big proponents of a minimalistic lifestyle. We believe that buying experiences rather than things is the key to happiness, and that a decluttered house is a decluttered mind. In true Wishlist fashion, though, we don’t want you to simply take our word for it. Here’s the science behind why less really is more.
Less Debt, More Money
Perhaps the best convincer to live minimally is the increase in cash flow. According to writer and designer Graham Hill, who gave a TED talk on the subject, not only are we living in spaces three times larger than what people were living in fifty years ago, but we have more than three times the stuff. Our shopping antics are so phenomenal that we have built an entire industry where there wasn’t one: personal storage which is now a 22 billion dollar industry. So how does pruning your belongings help your wealth? Easy, not only can you sell items, but you’ll staunch the bleeding, by not purchasing unnecessary things. Graham also points to small, but more effective spaces. Utiize space the right way with effective storage, stackable items, and only things you will use frequently. Here are his top tips on cash flow tricks:
- Buy Smaller– Smaller houses, smaller items. Collect things that are space savvy, instead of books (sigh) buy e-books. Use your space as wisely as possible.
- Buy Less- This one is of course easier said than done. When you’re purchasing clothes try and see the long-term value of each item. Buy higher quality, longer lasting items rather than cheaper quality. He also points to multifunctional items. Items that can accomplish two things rather than one: like a chair with hidden storage or two-sided silver ware.
- Uncompromising Edits– Purge your items without hesitation. If you have not worn a shirt in a year, donate it. Go through your house item by item and ask yourself what you truly need.
Less Stress, More Joy
According to Psychology Today, the impact of clutter on our minds can actually be harmful. Messy homes or workspaces can increase feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and stress. Clutter in our homes makes it more difficult to relax. It bombards our minds with visual, olfactory and tactile stimuli, making it almost impossible for our minds to shut down and reboot. Not only that, but clutter can inhibit creativity and productivity by infiltrating open spaces and preventing our minds from problem solving or brainstorming. It can also lead to frustration, not being able to find something quickly, embarrassment or guilt, feeling as though you’re unorganized or have spent too much money, and even anxiety, no longer being able to recognize value or cost, or manage money. By clearing out your spaces and organizing your home and office you can alleviate stress and increase your joy.
Less Dust, More Health
Often the worst aspect of a cluttered home is what you can’t see: dust. Spaces you can’t see or clean properly accumulate dust and a variety of living things that breed and dirty your home. Dust can be alarmingly detrimental to your health: it can burrow in your lungs, cause allergies and asthma and make breathing a struggle, but your cluttered home isn’t just detrimental to your health, it also hurts the earth. Massive homes require more air conditioning and heat, more electricity, more of everything. Continually purchasing things adds to our carbon footprint, adds more trash and uses more resources. By decluttering your life you’re helping to declutter the world.
How To Live More, With Less
It can be difficult to implement the above steps into your everyday life. Each change, however, starts with a first step. If you feel like your life could benefit from a little decluttering start small by going through your closet and donating items you haven’t used or worn. Try not to buy anything besides essentials (i.e. food and water) for a week, or two weeks. Challenge yourself to become more aware of your spending, and what you actually need. You’ll see the satisfaction in a simpler lifestyle quickly, and you’ll find that investing in memories is much more rewarding than investing in things.
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