Minimalism is daunting. Maybe you’re intimidated by the gatekeepers telling you that you can’t practice minimalism if you own more than 100 things. Maybe you’re simply afraid of making radical changes to your lifestyle.
Living with less is a challenge and it’s always easier to talk yourself out of a challenge than it is to take it on. Looking for a reason—or 11—to become a minimalist? Use this list for inspiration.
1. More money
Let’s start with the easy one: you will spend less—and save more—if you’re not constantly buying Things (with a capital T). That means more money to pay off school loans (internal groan), save for a home, donate to charitable causes, go on an awesome roadtrip, start your own business, etc.
Minimalism ejects Things from the driver’s seat and puts you back in control of your finances.
2. Less stress
Keeping up with the Joneses is stressful work. Worrying what others think is a harmful habit that all too easily becomes second nature. Trying to keep up to date on the latest fashions, gadgets and trends will make you frantic, fretful and frazzled.
By going minimalist, you discover that what others have and what you need are two radically different things.
3. More compassion
You can choose whether or not to be a minimalist.
Let’s unpack that. Minimalism is a choice you are free to make—or not make—not a lifestyle that poverty, illness, war or other devastating circumstances forces upon you. You can give up as much as you wish and you will still likely have more than most of the rest of the world.
When you realize how much you have—and how little you need—you gain more compassion for those in need. Living with less makes it clear that you are capable of giving more, without taking anything away from your lifestyle.
4. Less maintenance
Stuff requires space and space needs maintenance. As you pare down your possessions, you will hopefully realize you don’t really need a McMansion and three offsite storage units.
Less belongings and less square footage means less time wasted and less money spent on upkeep and care for your possessions and living space. This, once again, puts you back in the budgetary driver’s seat.
5. More time for loved ones
Buying stuff, maintaining stuff, worrying about stuff, wishing for stuff: stuff envy takes up a lot of valuable time.
Taking a break from possessions can really free up your schedule. Suddenly, you have time to sit down for a family dinner, take your spouse on a date or reconnect with siblings. Without mountains of things and acres of real estate to separate you, you and your loved ones can grow closer than ever before.
6. Fewer distractions
Distractions are easy to come by. If there aren’t any available to fuel your procrastination, it’s easy enough to find or invent more.
If you want to start eliminating distractions, limiting the amount of stuff you hold onto is a good place to start. Less stuff and less stress means more time to dedicate to your goals, whether that’s starting a family, opening a business, traveling the world or writing the next great American novel.
7. More self-control
Strengthening your self-control takes time and practice. Begin honing your self-control by first purging those items that are holding you back, stressing you out and distracting you. From there, start focusing on what really matters and practice saying no to the rest.
The more you practice, the more your self-control and resolve strengthen. The stronger your resolve, the easier you will find it to meet goals, stick to resolutions and commit to the lifestyle you really want.
8. Less doubt
As you stick to your resolve to strip away the excess, you come to discover what you really want. Not what you’re marketed, not what you neighbor wants, but what you want. As you discover your true desires, you will understand yourself better and doubt yourself less.
No more questioning your wants, needs and opinions as you try to keep up with the rest of the culture.
9. More attractive
It’s a simple formula: confidence is attractive. By stripping away self-doubt and strengthening resolve, minimalism builds confidence. A person who is confident in who they are and what they want—and has the resolve to pursue those desires—will easily draw the attention of new friends, partners and collaborators.
10. Fewer obstacles
It’s hard to pursue life’s opportunities when you’re buried under the weight of all your stuff. Whether it’s not taking a great position (with a lower pay grade) or ignoring the chance to take a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, stuff-induced-fear can easily hold you back.
What is stuff-induced-fear? For some, it’s the fear of not having enough stuff now. For many others, it’s the fear that they’ll need more stuff in the future. For a few others, it’s the fear of what will happen to their stuff if they don’t spend every moment watching and guarding it.
Breaking free from your stuff-dependency will also free you from stuff-induced-fear, allowing you to remain open to the amazing possibilities life has to offer.
11. More happiness
Less stress, more time with loved ones, less fear, more confidence: all of the benefits of minimalism lead back to one overarching reward:
Need a reason to starting being a minimalist? It gives you the freedom and opportunities to be happy. Who doesn’t want that?