How to Have Less Stuff: 3 Tips for Living Minimally
Over the years I’ve grown to really appreciate having less stuff, living minimally, and having only things I value or make use of. I feel less overwhelmed, my space is less cluttered and easier to tidy, and I have less attachments to things which can sometimes bring us more anxiety.
I used to be pretty materialistic years ago. Trips to the mall were my favourite past-time, I spent my paycheques on endless pieces of clothing and accessories, and I had more “stuff” than anyone could ever really need. But things changed (drastically) in my late teens, and the concept of simplicity took over.
Having a minimalist approach to my surroundings has brought me tons of joy and a lot less stress. If you’re feeling like you’re in need of a good life de-clutter session, here are my tips for living minimally and having less stuff.
How to Have Less Stuff
1. Ask for Experiences, Not Gifts
One of the most common ways that we accumulate too much stuff is by receiving things from others. Birthdays, holidays, achievements – you name it, a gift is given.
I’ve found over time that what I appreciate and value more than a physical gift is quality time or an experience with others. Instead of accumulating “stuff”, experiences provide us with lasting memories and enjoyable moments connecting with a friend, partner or family member.
This could be going out for dinner or cooking a meal together, going on a small trip or day trip, going for a walk, chatting over wine, or spending an afternoon at a gallery or event.
Don’t get me wrong. There are times when a gift can be wonderfully enjoyable or appreciated, so something I started doing a few years ago for my birthday or for Christmas was to either tell others I don’t want anything, or I’ll ask for something that I need and could really make use of. I once got a big jug of windshield washer fluid and a large container of medjool dates for Christmas and it was the greatest thing ever.
2. Think Before You Buy (or Take)
Impulse buying is pretty darn easy, but it’s definitely not the best way to shop. Here are some tips when shopping:
Ask yourself if you need, will use, or really love the item. Will you realistically make good use out of it? Will it help make your life better in some way? What’s influencing you to buy it?
If you’re indecisive, put it back and think about it for a day or two. If you feel like you still really want it, go for it! But if you lose interest or forget about it altogether, you never needed it in the first place.
These tips can apply to accepting free stuff, too. Have you ever taken something just because it’s free? You think, “meh, I’ll use it for something”. But more often than not, these things accumulate into clutter and we wonder why on earth we took them in the first place.
Learning to say no is really helpful here. I’ve taken things off someone’s hands before because I felt a little bad, or didn’t want to turn it down, or figured I could make use of it. I’ve even won a giveaway I entered once only to think to myself “I don’t actually want these things!”
Lesson learned: think before you take!
3. Let Go
You can take 15 minutes to do this in a small area (like a cupboard, box, or drawer), or two hours by having a little declutter party. The latter is my fave. Turn on some music, eat some snacks, and put on your cozy pants.
It’s less overwhelming to focus on smaller areas first instead of entire rooms, so start small.
When sorting through items, keep these three things in mind:
Need, Use, Love: Do I need this? Do I use this? Do I love this? If not, toss it.
This may require throwing some sentimentality out the window, which I know can be tough, but I also know it’s sometimes in our best interest!
With that in mind, sift and sort through your desired area. Here are some questions to ask to help you through the process:
Do I use this regularly?
When was the last time I used this?
When was the last time I even saw this?
Had I forgotten about this item before I just pulled it out?
Do I actually need this item, or have I been storing it away because I don’t know what to do with it?
Why have I been holding on to this item? How will parting with it, or keeping it, impact me?
Does this item bring me joy?
The items you decide to let go of can be donated, gifted, thrown out, or sold (a great incentive to make a couple bucks!)
I hope these tips help you navigate through the world of less stuff and less stress, because I know for certain they’ve helped me!
Do you have any tips for having less stuff? Share in the comments and be sure to check out my video below:
by Meghan Livingstone
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