6 Reasons to Embrace Minimalist Living

embrace-minimalism

“Never underestimate the importance of abandoning crap you don’t need.”

Six years ago, I decided to embrace minimalist living.

At first, the reasons were simple. I was spending too much of my life caring for possessions and I was wasting too much money on stuff I didn’t need. These possessions were not bringing me joy or lasting happiness. Even worse, they were keeping me from the very things that did.

Possessions had become the great distraction in my life. And the most effective way to fully recenter my life on the things that mattered most was to remove the excess physical possessions from my home and life.

Since then, I’ve been asked countless times if I think minimalism is just a phase. I always answer the same, “Absolutely not.”

Minimalism is a better way to live. It brings freedom, clarity, and opportunity. And each of us should consider embracing it in our own unique way. Consider these six reasons.

6 Reasons to Embrace Minimalist Living

1. More opportunity to pursue what’s most important. Our lives are important. Why would we waste them pursuing things that aren’t? Physical things always perish, spoil, or fade. But love, joy, purpose, contribution, and compassion stand eternal. Our lives would be better lived pursuing them. Minimalism provides that opportunity.

2. More intentionality in all areas of life. Countless voices and messages seek influence in our lives. They desire to shape what we believe, what we buy, what we watch, what we eat, and how we live. Intentionality brings life back under our control. Minimalism jumpstarts intentional living by forcing us to identify our values. As a result, we can better identify how we have been swayed by artificial influences.

3. More space to live our fullest life. Our lives require space. But in a world of ever-increasing speed, time for reflection becomes more and more difficult to discover. Owning fewer possessions means less cleaning, less organizing, less repairing, and less financial burden. It frees up time, energy, and space—space that can be spent examining life to make sure we are living it to the fullest.

4. More focus on contribution. Even if for selfish reasons, it is wise for each of us to evaluate where we seek meaning. Happiness found in living life for personal gain is short-lived, never fully satisfying. On the other hand, using our resources for the purpose of improving life for someone else offers lasting joy. Moving our focus from personal gain to personal contribution is not always the result of embracing minimalism, but it does become much easier.

5. More flexibility for life change. Over the past six years, our family has made some significant changes. We have changed careers. We have moved to a smaller home. We have discovered new hobbies. We have changed the way we spend our money. And we have changed many of the habits that define our lives. In each of the examples listed above, minimalism helped make the change possible. One of the greatest benefits of living with fewer possessions is freedom—freedom to live and change and improve—even if the specific changes are up to you.

6. More inspiration for others. Our world is losing itself in consumeristic pursuits. Home sizes are growing, but happiness is not. We chase paychecks rather than influence and success rather than significance. The results of these choices have proven detrimental: stress, anxiety, fatigue, and regret. We need new inspiration. We need more people rejecting consumerism and choosing life instead.

Embrace minimalism for yourself. Embrace minimalism for your family. Embrace minimalism for the world around you. Because the stakes are high.

And thanks for an unbelievable six years here at Becoming Minimalist.

More anniversary posts:

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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Comments

    • says

      I have been a minimalist most of my life really without knowing it. My idea was always to live small. I am facinated with living a small life so I can live big outdoors which is really where life happens. My husband and I live in a 960 sq ft condo, share one 12 year old car which just turned 80K miles. We own our condo (not the bank) and we share the only bathroom in the house. That being said, it takes effort not to be sucked in by media who tells us what we need to buy to be cool to look hip and trendy. Most who live around us think there is really something wrong with us because we don’t drive a BMW but that’s ok. We walk to the market for dinner, we ride our bikes for pleasure and our vacations are five days a week, me only working two days a week to make our modest lifestyle affordable. Yes, it only takes two days a week to make enough money to live on when you live minimally. And we have never wanted for anything. That’s pretty good for living in one of the most expensive areas of the US.

      Live simply so others can simply live and take only what you need and leave the rest.

      • audrey says

        That’s inspiring. I’m getting there. As I move through emptying my house of thing I realized I haven’t even used most of them and I’m still working too hard to pay for them.

  1. says

    This post really resonates. My husband and I have turned to a more minimalist lifestyle after moving away from London 5 years ago. For me your number 5, this flexibility for change has been most on my mind these last few days, as I prepare to give up my career for… more time to pursue other things. Thic could only happen after we decided that we can live on a lot less than people will have us think…

  2. Nathalie says

    I do think I have always been a minimalist in heart and soul but only discovered recently the word minimalism. I don’t what it was but as I child I was always trying not to go shopping for clothes and I always was telling my mom I didn’t need anything. I grew up in a rather wealthy family and money was no issue. Sometimes I was even ashamed by the fact I was different than the rest of my family and was made fun of. My brother was driving a fancy car and I was driving an old beetle almost falling apart but I just loved my old car. I spent some time in Africa where thyLittle by little I took over the consumer life style and the accumulation of possessions.

  3. Nathalie says

    I do think I have always been a minimalist in heart and soul but only discovered recently the word minimalism. I don’t what it was but as I child I was always trying not to go shopping for clothes and I always was telling my mom I didn’t need anything. I grew up in a rather wealthy family and money was no issue. Sometimes I was even ashamed by the fact I was different than the rest of my family and was made fun of. My brother was driving a fancy car and I was driving an old beetle almost falling apart but I just loved my old car. I spent some time in Africa where there were hardly any shops and no junk to buy and realized that mthyLittle by little I took over the consumer life style and the accumulation of possessions.

  4. Nathalie says

    I do think I have always been a minimalist in heart and soul but only discovered recently the word minimalism. I don’t what it was but as I child I was always trying not to go shopping for clothes and I always was telling my mom I didn’t need anything. I grew up in a rather wealthy family and money was no issue. Sometimes I was even ashamed by the fact I was different than the rest of my family and was made fun of. My brother was driving a fancy car and I was driving an old beetle almost falling apart but I just loved my old car. I spent some time in Africa where there were hardly any shops and no junk to buy and realized that mthyLittle by little I took over the consumer life style and the accumulation of possessions.

  5. says

    So inspiring… my husband and I are on that mission now : We are in the process of reclaiming our home which is small, cozy, but mostly cluttered and a source of stress. We have set a goal for ourselves (and our family) to reduce our belongings by 50%. So far, I would easily say we’ve reached about 20% of that.

    But it was automatic, the less we have, the happier we are and that makes us just want to get rid of more.

    Once again, you blog is a constant source of inspiration.

    Yanic

  6. Nathalie says

    Here follows the remaining:
    Later I spent some time in Africa where there were hardly any shops available and realized that my life was much easier that way. When I came back to Europe little by little the consumer life style took over and I was drowning among my possessions. My partner at that time opened my eyes and helped me to get rid off my things. It almost came naturally and the more I sold or gave away my stuff the better I started feeling. But I it is a process that takes years.

  7. Marie Katherine says

    Thank you for continuing to inspire me.

    I’m in my early 50’s and now in the process of unloading 30 years worth of possessions. I keep thinking how different my life might have been had I understood this way of living in my 20’s.
    I have no regrets though, we all have our path to follow and I have truly been fortunate to have had the stuff I accumulated and now am giving away.

    Minimalism has become much more to me than just having less stuff…it has also become about making choices as to how I spent my time. I no longer feel guilty about not being constantly on the go…it’s OK just to sit still and be. And the activities I choose I truly want to do instead of feeling like “I should”.

  8. says

    This is the key for me: “But love, joy, purpose, contribution, and compassion stand eternal.”

    Happy 6th Anniversary, Joshua. I’m so glad you started on this wonderful path and have shared with us so generously as you’ve moved along.

  9. Matthew says

    Congrats. =)

    I decided to become a minimalist myself recently, I’m planning to a service for removal big items out of the way as I don’t need or use them. I think I’ll be more happier. =)

    Cheers,
    Matt

  10. says

    I am in a very similar situation to Marie Katherine. Likewise, however, I don’t do regret, I only look forward to what can be rather than back to what is no longer possible. In the space of a year (anniversary this month) our home has changed beyond compare. Our lifestyles have mellowed and we have achieved most of the points you mentioned above. I have a new career I love in an area I never ever expected to work. I have published a book and I have time to meditate, to walk and to enjoy life. I feel as if I am living a slower life than ever before, yet people keep asking me how I do so much! I’m no longer tied down by stuff I suppose.

    • says

      Janet Luhrs’ book is a classic and stems from a time when minimalists were instead referred to as those who chose voluntary simplicity (the name has change but similar ideas). Her Simple Loving book is also very good. It is difficult to get a hold of her newsletters however, so if anyone out there knows how please let me know. If you are interested in Luhrs and have not read Your Money or Your Life by Dominguez and Robin definitely do so. The Northwest Earth Institute also has great resources (their voluntary simplicity program is excellent and can be found in locations nationwide)–I’m a Midwesterner now but grew up in the Pacific Northwest where this grassroots effort began…really amazing people.

      Home Economics: If the Shoes Fit Wear Them Out
      http://awellstockedlife.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/home-economics-if-the-shoes-fit-wear-them-out-2/

  11. says

    I also felt like I was spending too much time caring for and maintaining my stuff. We ended up doing a major decluttering and then went on to sell our house and downsized to an apartment.

    I definitely enjoy having more time to pursue what’s most important, including quality time with my family doing fun activities.

  12. Lively Minimalist says

    The word that got me started on the path of minimalism came from Flylady–declutter. I yearned for simplicity and so I started decluttering. That was 10 years ago–10 years of purging periods that would last for a week or a month or even a few months, to be followed by the too-busy-to-notice accumulation of stuff. In this, my eleventh year of trying to declutter, I feel like I finally get it. What I took from Flylady, bless her heart, was a system. What I realized two months ago is that minimalism is not a system, it’s a value. When I live by my value I will have no more need to declutter, destuff, and dehectify.

  13. Espen says

    Nice blog :)

    Im just recently started embracing minimalism. But…the problem is when living with someone that doesnt understand the words “less” and “reducing” at all. It would be great living in a studio apartment by myself, but when i have to shear my life with another person its impossible to avoid that the other persons stuff is clutter my life. My heart is hurting everytime my love one is bringing another plastic bag with just more useless’ stuff into our house. The last purchase she did was a large plastic container to keep cupcakes in (!). Totally useless, since we already have plenty of tupperwares big enough for that. Being a green minimalist is really difficult for me….it would just be so much easier if the two of us shared the same mindset about minimalism… :(

    cheers from norway

    • Lori says

      I understand completely as I have battled that for 25 plus years. We were married had nothing and were fine. Adding more as the house grew larger. Now kids are moving on and I want less!! Hubby has hard time letting go as buys useless things at the discount store,ugh… I have little by little cleaned through the house avoiding his stuff hoping as I do he will get the hint. Along with choice articles from this blog sent to his email. People are resistant to letting go and think this is slow process for some but at some point he will hopefully be on board!

  14. says

    I find all your posts so inspiring!

    I am in the process of becoming minimalist. Despite the appeal of consumerism, I am amazed at how good I feel every time I simplify my life in one way or another. It makes me want to simplify even more.

    Thank you for writing this; it reinforces my motivation to do more with less. :-)

    • Joseph :E says

      My situation is just same as you, every time I simplify my life i enjoy a lot. I wanna be a minimalism too.

  15. says

    I can say from personal experience that, after years as a typical consumer in the hamster wheel, life truly became more focused, more enjoyable and less stressful when started living the the luxury of little. I wrote a bit about it in an article for the Dallas Morning News.

    http://lifepart2.com/the-stuff-of-life-why-i-sold-all-my-belongings-to-travel-the-world/

    I am now three years into the adventure and life has been unalterably changed. There is beauty to living life on your own terms and not dictated by your possessions.

  16. says

    Totally onboard with minimalism and have been for almost twenty years when my wife and I became vegetarians and committed to live lightly on the earth. We are self-propelled (mostly), commuting by bike or foot, live in a modest sized 2 bedroom condo with our two boys, dog and cat, and try to inspire our boys by our example.

    That said, I find the external de-cluttering to be relatively easy compared to the internal baggage I carry. The biggest battle in becoming a whole minimalist is within.

    I’ve been such a pack-rat with so many of my thoughts, beliefs and mindless chatter. I yearn for an internal space where and when I can truly let go of cherished and reviled boxes of mental “stuff” that I’ve held on to.

    Incredible, the clutter I keep inside. For what? Just in case….I don’t know.

    Working on it. Meditation helps. Wish letting go of the internal stuff was as easy as packing up the twenty or thirty garbage bags of things we recently dropped at the Sally Ann! ;)

  17. says

    Joshua, Your articles are the only ones I read entirely on a daily basis. How I wish I’d have heard about this sooner! I am a 50+ woman who has made some changes since reading your blog. I no longer feel the need to buy something new everytime I’m in a store, I am slowly getting rid of things around my home and starting to declutter. I am learning how to enjoy the simple things in life such as tending a garden, going for walks, meditating, spending time with friends, trying to stay in the present, and appreciating nature. I just wanted to say “thank you” for everything you have taught me.

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