In 2013 my then girlfriend and I were packing up our 2 bedroom home in preparation for a move to a hip studio apartment in the middle of downtown Denver. She crammed all of her clothes into a couple of boxes in a matter of minutes while I spent more time than I’d like to admit (we’re talking hours here) coming to terms with the reality in front of me: I owned nearly 100 shirts and I hardly wore any of them.
Now I own 6.
Though I didn’t ditch all 100 of those shirts that day, I’ve spent the last 3 years working my way toward the minimalist lifestyle that I now live.
I’ve found that when you eliminate non-essential possessions you give yourself more freedom. Freedom to focus on living the life you truly desire.
5 Reasons Life Is Better Now That I Don’t Have So Much Junk
1. I Save A Ton Of Money
Gone are the days of going shopping just to go shopping. I used to ritualistically spend every Saturday scouring local thrift stores for the best “deals” I could find — convincing myself I was saving money by being so thrifty even though I had no real need for for the junk I was collecting. Now I only buy when I’m in need, not just because I want it.
2. I’m Not As Stressed
Keeping so much junk orderly and dust free is truly a chore — and chores take away time and energy from what I really want to be doing. Also, stuff breaks, goes missing and can be frustrating (i.e. the IKEA furniture in that hip apartment). All of that adds up to stress and stress isn’t healthy.
3. I Have Fewer Distractions
Remember as a child when you were supposed to clean your room but you just ended up playing with your toys and procrastinating? Yeah, I still do that as an adult. By possessing less I have fewer opportunities to let the things I own control my time. My computer desk used to be cluttered with knick-knacks, office supplies and momentos — now I work from coffee shops and co-working spaces and get more done with a distraction free environment.
4. It’s Humbling
Though I grew up on the lower end of the middle class, there is no denying that I’ve still had it better off than most of the world’s population throughout history. Living my new life without many possessions has helped me see the world in a different light and understand (even just ever so slightly) how so many other people live simple yet fulfilling lives.
5. I Can Live A Hyper-Flexible Lifestyle
I’m going to Bali next month. You know why? Because I’ve always wanted to and because I found a flight for $50. (In other words: Because I can.) When everything you own fits into a carry-on bag the entire world opens up in front of you. I have no mortgage to pay, no storage expenses and no pressure to get home just to be with my stuff. I’ve chosen to live a digital nomad lifestyle and shedding my unnecessary possessions was a crucial step in making that a reality.
I’m currently living out of a backpack while globetrotting and realize that this way of life may be a bit extreme for some but the core ideas presented here are universal. It’s okay to own stuff (I own stuff!) but I firmly believe that you should not clutter your life with a bunch of junk that you don’t need, don’t use and don’t truly want.
I challenge you to take a look around your home and consider getting rid of the things you haven’t touched in the past year. You’d be surprised by how big of a pile you could make and I bet you’ll feel damn good once it’s all out of your life.