Own Higher Quality Things


I will admit this benefit of minimalism came unexpected to me. For some reason, I didn’t combine owning fewer things and owning nicer things in my mind. But the truth is, they go hand-in-hand and are directly related.

When we made a commitment to buy fewer things, we opened up our lives to the opportunity of owning nicer things.

Take your wardrobe for example: if you are like most, you have 25 mediocre shirts hanging in your closet – even though you really only wear 10 of them and truly love even less. A much more sensible approach is to have 10 shirts that you truly love hanging in your closet rather than 25 that you just “kinda like.” Based on the budgetary reality that we only have a certain amount of money that we can spend on clothes, you can either purchase 20 shirts at $20 each or 10 at $40 each.

In this way, a minimalist lifestyle allows you to purchase higher quality items. Remember, more is not better… better is better.

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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  1. Sarah says

    I love that the more we part with, the more we want to part with. We are realizing how little we really need.The more we let go of our material possesions, the happier out family is becoming. Why have bulky electric and non electric food choppers, and proccessors when all you need is a cutting board, grater and a knife!

  2. Harrken says

    I have a minimalization day about every 3 or 4 months. I turn off all of the distractions (tv, internet, telephone), put on some good music, and tackle 1 room or sometimes just 1 box. I always find something that I just had to keep the last time I looked in this area that I no longer feel so attached to and find it a new home in someone else’s house. I always feel better afterward and, so far, I haven’t regretted getting rid of anything. Becoming minimal is addictive in a good way.

  3. Claire says

    Two days ago I decided I really “should” declutter a box of “memories” (I have quite a few) and I told myself, that even “a little” was better than not doing it at all… The TWO boxes decluttered have now become ONLY ONE…
    Imagine what that could have been like if I had even put some effort into it! LOL!

  4. James Gallagher says

    Sounds promising but for minimalist family of four currently living in 240sqft it’s something that if you don’t do it you realize quickly that living otherwise is madness

  5. Jon Weston says

    I’m a bit of a collector, I’m afraid — must run in the family. But, this advice is still on-point even for folks like me who can’t seem to help our love of finely made things. Guitars, for instance. I’ve never walked into someone’s crowded studio and thought, “wow, you have so many trashy, worthless instruments– I’m envious!”

    So even for collectors, limiting oneself to well-chosen, highest-quality items makes less stress and more enjoyment.

  6. Barbara Robinette says

    To have less than 1/2 regular (not walk-in) closet of clothes or to leave 1 drawer empty in my dresser, this for me has been a lifetime of happiness of less…and from reading this website, I’m encouraged to do more decluttering in my own life and house. Thanks for these many wise words.

  7. di says

    Why do you need the best, biggest, newest or most advanced, significant or popular?

    Is it because you feel less without them?

    Most of the time, what you already have is sufficient.

    • Atreides83 says

      Di, Josh is talking about owning “Higher Quality” things, not necessarily bigger, newest, most advanced etc. That is, things made with better quality materials or better designed that are less likely to break down, jam up, or wear out quickly. We all know that a $5 t-shirt and a $5 radio are likely to be in the bin before 12 months is up.

      Owning higher quality items is a really great benefit because it reinforces a lot of the other benefits:
      – Less Stress – since they are less frustrating to use and break less often
      – More Time – since you spent less time fixing or replacing them
      – Good for the Environment – since less goes into landfill. Seriously, a regular trip to the tip is a great reminder of how much crappy stuff gets thrown away and why quality is important.
      – Be More Productive – a poor workman likely blames his tools because most good workmen invest in good tools.

      They also help you become more minimalist since they break less often so you don’t have to think about buying things so often.

      The money spent will be the same if you own 1 quality appliance you use a lot vs. 5 cheap appliances that you don’t use much.

      • chris says

        This is exactly right, Atreides83. Why have many, poor quality items when 1 good quality one will perform better, last longer, look better, etc. etc. I don’t think it’s at all about needing or wanting bigger, newer, flashier things. A really good pair of shoes can be repaired and used for years, whereas cheap ones just get tossed out….many times. This philosophy is also much better for the environment.

  8. leigh says

    I am practically having a panic attack right now reading this entire blog. Ok not a real panic attack, but my heart is racing with palpatations and I have knots in my stomach. Why? Because I came across it google ing ways to go to a one income family, and what did I do today? Spent money on gadgets and housewares I can totally live without. I have blender, food processor, manual processor, chopper, specialty cutting tools ect… i was thinking today, i need a bigger kitchen. NO I DO NOT, I have too much stuff! WHY am I doing this?? I grew up pretty poor and now make 100k a year (my income alone) in a state where the median income is about 60k. It must he that culture has convinced me that I should have more because i earn more.

    now I am realizing that I want either me or my spouse to stay home with our daughter, now toddler. We work opposite so she is only with a sitter 2 or 3 days per week, but we have maybe one day off together every few months. I am the higher earner so it makes sense for it to be me who works. I think my hubby and I need to have some serious talks about this…and fast. I think I might need therapy to help me through this, but I really am feeling like I need to start to transition to a more minimalist lifestyle. Mostly because after reading these comments I became so emotional, almost ashamed that I spend so rediculously. Any direction you can point me in would be great.

  9. Astrid says

    I’m also learning about quality over quantity.
    Another way it has popped up was when I recently decided to buy my first smartphone. Now I can get rid of my calendar, my analog mobile phone, my camera (when I choose to take it) and my mp3 player in my handbag. In fact, the phone can do all that and more, and reside in a pocket, if I have one, lessening the need for a handbag.
    In the mean time, it’s also taken the role of cooking timer, reminder lists, and word learning (app) for my Japanese class.

    • Erin says

      I love this. A lot of minimalism blogs put down smartphones because of the cost and the tech addiction. But I love how multi-purpose mine is. In addition to the uses you mentioned, mine is also my alarm clock and my gps, not to mention the ease of being able to look up information anytime I need to.

  10. Alma Gideon says

    I had conflicting personalities growing up. I was OCD (still am) and was exposed to clutter having a hoarding mother. I finally broke away from the hoarding and started to minimalize my life. It was refreshing and freeing. My family moved and as a result I found I had accumulated a vast array of hand tools both electric and manual. I decided to de-clutter those and chose only the quality ones to keep. My sons benefited along with our local thrift store. I now only purchase the top of the line tools, if needed also after researching and saving for them. I purchased an electric drill that I’ve had for 15 years that works as well today as it did when bought (it’s built a 180 cedar fence and a 10 X 14 redwood deck). I use an eight year old high end laptop and watch TV on high end Sony that is at least 6 years old. All were purchased with quality in mind, paying a little more initially but the cost of ownership is low. Our only auto is a 2005 high end compact car (Mini) that has just over 120,000 miles that’s been maintained regularly.

    Great site with great ideas.

  11. Cate says

    This topic has been on my mind for the last few weeks regarding my work wardrobe. First let me say that I work in Manhattan in a field where dressing nice matters. I have a few very expensive items that are in constant rotation but old since I’ve haven’t allowed myself to spend that level of money in a few years. But the truth is the inexpensive stuff just wears out and and I always get complements when I wear my good stuff, some of which is 12 years old. I think it’s time to be honest with myself and budget a few pieces in a year. It’s better for the environment too.

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