Minimalism is the practice of living with fewer things and simplifying daily life to include only what’s necessary or what brings joy. If you’re one of the many people out there who’s interested in transitioning to a more minimalist lifestyle, you might want to know: what’s in it for me? Indeed, following this way of life brings a whole host of benefits, from more mental clarity to a smaller carbon footprint.
The first thing you need to understand when considering minimizing your lifestyle is that minimalism never means deprivation or going without. It means being more intentional about what you buy and how you spend your free time. When done properly, living a minimalist lifestyle should never feel like you’re denying yourself joy, pleasure or fun. Instead, it should feel freeing, like you’ve released yourself from the confines of all the stuff that bogs you down.
For example, going minimal doesn’t mean purging your kitchen of all your favorite utensils and gadgets. It means consciously reducing the amount of stuff you own without compromising your personal needs and wants. You can do this by, for example, replacing all your mismatched and warped plastic food containers with more durable food storage containers that last longer and are more versatile so that you buy (and store) less. No more cluttered kitchen drawers with mismatched lids!
What’s the point, though? Even if you’re not the kind of person who feels burdened by the many earthly possessions that surround you, you’ll definitely find a few perks to going minimal. Here are some of the top reasons to make the switch.
1. It’s Better for the Planet — In its simplest form, minimalism means consuming less. It means consciously switching to more durable, reusable and longer lasting items so that you’re not buying more stuff that will eventually wind up in the landfill. And that’s a big deal, since over 146 million tons of waste wind up in landfills each year. For example, minimalism might mean using more eco-friendly kitchen products or switching to low-waste cleaning supplies so that you produce less waste and have fewer things to store in your home. All in all, this will help you reduce your carbon footprint and put less strain on the planet.
2. It Can Help You Feel Happier — Maximalism is associated with the presence of a lot of physical clutter, while minimalism is more about reducing it. Unfortunately, studies show that clutter can have a negative impact on our mental health, even leading us to feel depressed, stressed out and anxious. Therefore, reducing your physical clutter can have the opposite effect, making you feel more calm, relaxed and focused. If you feel that your surroundings are bringing down your mood or stressing you out, think about what you can get rid of without compromising your quality of life.
3. It Can Help You Stay Focused — Have you ever noticed that a messy house or desk feels prohibitive to getting work done? You’re not alone! In addition to linking clutter with poor mental health, studies have also shown that clutter can cause procrastination and prevent you from staying focused on the task at hand. While minimalism is not about purging your life of all stuff, it can certainly lead to neater, less cluttered spaces so you’ll feel more productive. This is especially helpful for people who work, write or create from home, but you can always take minimalistic principles into the office, too.
4. It Can Save You Money — Minimalism is about buying less stuff, which means less money spent on maintenance and upkeep. It can also mean investing in multipurpose products that serve many purposes, helping you consolidate and clear out space. One simple example: you can use sturdy freezer storage containers to make ice and store freezer-friendly foods, like sauces or broth, so you don’t have to invest in tons of special containers for every task. When you reduce, you may also be able to sell some of your old, unused items for a profit.
5. It Saves You on Cleaning — Going minimal can help you save time on cleaning in more ways than one. First, it helps you streamline and reduce, which means you simply have fewer items to clean and maintain. For example, downsizing your family fleet to a single car means only one vehicle to clean and maintain. It also helps save you time on cleaning because it encourages less clutter buildup in your home and storage spaces, which translates to less dust to clean.
6. It Means More Free Time — Ultimately, the best part about going minimal is that you have more freedom to enjoy your life in whatever way you please. With less upkeep, cleaning and maintenance, you’ll have more time to spend on the things you love doing. Rather than spending your weekends deep cleaning and cataloging your stuff, you’ll be able to better maintain the few things you own and then enjoy the time that’s left over.
The key to being successful with your minimalist shift is to take small steps toward the greater goal. No need to purge your home of everything that isn’t purely necessary. Instead, slowly weed out duplicates, unused items and anything that gives you stress. Over time, you’ll see the benefits for yourself, and the minimalist lifestyle will become like second nature.