More Time for the Things That Matter Most


John Ruskin, an art critic in the 19th century, once wrote, “Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.” He was right. Every single thing you own requires a little bit of your attention and time whether it be researching, shopping, cleaning, organizing, repairing, replacing, recycling, or working just to make the money to buy the new thing that you can take home to clean and organize and replace. John Ruskin was right. The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you.

That’s why those who live a minimalist lifestyle have more time on their hands for other things in life. It was this benefit that ultimately led to our decision to become minimalists. Remember the story of my son playing baseball in the backyard while I was stuck cleaning the garage?

Since becoming minimalist, we have found that living with fewer possessions means that all our belongings have a standard place where they belong in our home, which makes cleaning a snap. I spend less time searching for books, keys, and shoes. In short, I spend far less time being the janitor for my possessions, and far more time doing the things I love.

Discover 20 more reasons to own less: 21 Benefits of Minimalism.

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. says

    I love this article and all your blog articles. You are inspiring me to change my entire lifestyle. Thank you for your courage and inspiration, what you have done, and how you live. You are truly inspiring!

  2. Samantha says

    I have been slowly making my way through your archives these last few months & I find your blog inspiring & honest. But I’m afraid I face a dilemma. I understand that the more stuff I own, the more my stuff owns me….but my husband is a collector of many things- mostly clutter & numerous hobby items. Now I am beginning to reduce my clutter, but he is not on the same page. Since I am the one to clean up after everyone in this house, I feel as though his stuff will still own me once I have cleared my own! Any advice?

    • Astrid says

      My ex-husband was a pack rat, and also a clutterer. He would not tidy up after himself, in any part of the house. And he tended to leave a big mess when he was being helpful, like cooking.

      Sollution: I took over the cooking, whenever possible. It was simply less work for me in total.

      He just dropped his jacket, pants, keys, backpack, raincoat, shoes, shirt and jumpers (etc etc, I’m sure you know what I mean) anywhere in the house, but especially in the living area, on the sofas and the coffee table was always overflowing of never-moving objects, etc.

      Sollution: Dump it where it would annoy him most, and where it didn’t mean that I had to tidy it away.

      I decided that I would dump all his discarded bits in a big haul every single time on his computer desk and chair. As a computer specialist and gaming junky, those were the only things he needed to keep clutter-free: just the chair to sit on and the keyboard to type on, and the monitor to look at, everything else was a big mess.

      That seemed to work.

      Other sollutions: We also chose the smallest possible room in the house to make our bedroom out of. The bed was walled in on 3 sides, and there was a great big wardrobe to fit our clothes. Unless he dumped things right in front of the door, so it couldn’t open, there was no opportunity for him to clutter up our bedroom.

      My ex husband at one point said: if something has been somewhere a long time, he doesn’t see it anymore. (A day was a long time, in this timeframe.) So for him, it isn’t an obstruction that can easily be removed, it’s just the shape of the environment from now on, that nothing can be done about, or even considered to try.

      This was confirmed by the book: “How to Remodel a Man: tips and techniques on accomplishing something you know is impossible but want to try anyway” by W Bruce Cameron.

      It’s a very funny book, and it also says some truths about men (and why women don’t understand them) that rung sooo right.

      Good luck!

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