If you had told me in my poor, beans and rice years that I would one day write why living with less stuff will make you happier, I would have laughed at you. Sure, money doesn’t buy happiness, but like that country song goes, it can buy you a boat and a new truck. It can also comfortably pay for that cart full of “essential” items at Target.
I’ve always been the frugal type, but as my husband and I began to make more and more money, we started to spend more money. We weren’t in debt. However, we weren’t saving nearly as much as we would like and our house was filling up…fast. We were even talking about getting a bigger house, just to store all of our stuff!
Do you know most people don’t even use all the rooms in their house? If you were to make a heat map of your home, do you use all the space? For us, that was a no. We never used the basement. Know why? Because it was quite literally filled with boxes from floor to ceiling in one half of the room. It was after our decluttering challenge that I realized living with less stuff does make you happier.
Here are some of the reasons why living with less stuff will make you happier:
1. When you live with less stuff, you have less stuff to pick-up
Living with less stuff means there is less to constantly pick up. It is the perfect solution to clutter overwhelm. It also makes living with kids and the constant toy pick-up a whole lot less time-consuming. Fewer toys mean less nagging your children to clean up. It also helps your kids realize what toys they love so they can play with them more without having to sift through the clutter. Get your kids on board early with being ok with living with less stuff and your house pick-up gets so much easier.
When you get rid of the sheer volumes of stuff in your home, it also means things like less paper to sort through, fewer clothes (by creating a capsule wardrobe) to manage, fewer magazines are strewn across your coffee table and less guilt! Less stuff magically makes mama’s job so much easier. It can be eye-opening.
2. When you live with less stuff, your house feels bigger
Like I said earlier, decluttering gave us back an entire basement we neglected to use because it was full of stuff we were holding on to for “one day” or for sentimental reasons. When you live with less stuff, your home feels so much bigger. We no longer needed a bigger house after getting rid of all the excess. Once you declutter your home, you can enjoy the house that looked so amazing and full of potential the day you moved in.
3. You know what you own
Once you are living with less stuff, you start to know what you own. We had multiples of so many items: four hammers, six kid thermometers, three white shirts that all looked nearly the same. After clearing the clutter in our home and transitioning more to a minimalist mindset, we actually knew what we owned. You also start to become more thoughtful before buying things, and you learn items can have multiple uses.
4. You know where things are located
Having less stuff in your home makes it easier to give everything in your home a specific location. Why? Because you have more space! (See #2!) When you know where items are located in your home, the days of searching frantically for something before heading out the door late diminish. Your items are no longer lost in the chaos of your living room or bedroom in need of decluttering.
5. More time
Living with less stuff means less time is needed to maintain your home and your belongings. When you have fewer clothes, you do less long days of laundry. Picking up of toys goes faster for your kids. Tidying up your living room and bedrooms takes only moments versus hours. You get back the precious time you crave and you lose that crazy clutter overwhelm you feel.
6. You save money when living with less stuff
Being purposeful about buying less stuff will also save you money. It’s an easy cause and effect! You then have more money to save for retirement, college savings for your kids, or taking that family vacation you need so badly. When you embrace the concept of living with less stuff and start transitioning to your own version of minimalism, you start to put a heavier emphasis on experiences. We have enjoyed memberships to museums, and we spend more time doing family activities, like hiking with the kids.
7. Laundry gets easier
When you are living with less stuff, including fewer clothes, laundry gets easier. You don’t do less laundry, it just gets simpler. First, create a capsule wardrobe. When you have a limited number of clothing items, you have a smaller inventory of clothes to maintain with cleaning. Therefore, your laundry doesn’t build up for weeks before it gets washed. Even though you are doing laundry for the same amount of days-worth of clothes, your build-up of clothes isn’t so massive.
Be honest, do you have piles of clothes sitting around, often clean and ready to be folded or put away? Or do the piles of dirty laundry build up until you are forced to spend an entire weekend catching up? Stop the overwhelming cycle of laundry! Declutter your closet and make laundry a task that isn’t dreaded.
8. You and your family will experience more gratefulness
When you have less stuff in your home, you and your family will start to appreciate and feel grateful for the items you already have available. You will love everything left in your home, and the clutter that was always in your way will disappear. You will no longer have to sort through stuff you only mildly care about to get to the items you really want to use.
For children, too many toys can be overwhelming. After I decluttered my kids’ rooms, their reactions were so cute. I feared anarchy. In reality, they were thrilled to have so much more play space and accessibility to the toys they adored. To avoid our children falling into the consumerism culture, here are some ideas for minimalist gifts for kids.
9. You will experience a more peaceful and relaxing home
Clutter fuels my anxiety. I call it my clutter overwhelm. Before I took on a challenge to simplify our lives, I could never clean up fast enough, and I could never keep up with the mess. I felt like I worked all day, and then I came home and cleaned up after my family all night. I was also needed to stop my impulse online shopping. There was SO MUCH STUFF! I could not even walk into my basement without having to walk around a stack of boxes nearly floor to ceiling full of stuff we did not need. I stressed out immensely before guests would come over, and I could not keep up with the constant amount of picking up.
Not all items had a place before we decluttered our home and started to live with less stuff. Now that everything in our home has a designated place and the sheer volume of stuff has decreased, our home is a relaxing and welcoming environment. My anxiety levels decreased dramatically, and I started to embrace living with less stuff and simplicity in all aspects of our lives. It really was life changing for someone that has always battled feeling overwhelmed as a mother.
10. When you buy less stuff, you can invest in higher quality items
Buying less stuff doesn’t mean living without any stuff. I mean you could live with no stuff. There are plenty of people who do it, but that’s not my journey. When we stopped buying stuff we didn’t need, we had more money in the bank. With more money in the bank, we could buy higher quality items when we did need something or when we really wanted something.
For example, I don’t buy shoes that often. However, when I buy shoes, I buy shoes I love. Price is rarely the justifying cause for shoes I purchase. Rather, I focus on functionality and how timeless they are so they can have a longer life in my capsule wardrobe.
11. When you live with less stuff, you have a greater sense of order
When you have clutter, your stuff doesn’t always have a designated place in your home. You often have stuff crammed in corners on the floor, stuffed onto a shelf or hidden in a closet or drawer. However, after you declutter your home, clean out the junk drawers, and get rid of the things you don’t need, you are left with space…wonderful, amazing space.
Remember that feeling when you first moved into your home? The shelves were empty, the cabinets were huge, and your closets seemed plenty big. Get that feeling back. Find space for the stuff that you love. Get rid of the rest. The sense of order that comes from clearing the clutter in your home is such a relief.
12. When you live a simple life, you start to want less
When you live a simple life and get rid of all the clutter, something magical happens. You start to want less. Now, it takes time to break bad habits, but once you learn how to resist marketing and break the cycles of shopping, your desire for more starts to go away. You start to appreciate the items left in your home, and you start to value experiences over things. Shopping will no longer become your endorphin high. You will get your happiness from other activities. In fact, check out these activities you can do now, instead of spending your time shopping. The possibilities are endless!
Stop the clutter overwhelm
Clutter does more than weigh down your home. It weighs you down too. It can make this whole mom gig feel even harder than it already is somedays. Why add more to your plate? I don’t enjoy cleaning. I do it to keep a nice, tidy home, but I would way rather be playing a game with my kids or reading a book. When our home was filled to the brim with clutter, I didn’t have time to do anything else. If I did take the time to enjoy something else, the guilt of letting the house go to crap was awful.
Now that we are living with less stuff and everything has a place, there is less to clean. I don’t spend nearly the same amount of time picking up. I split up my regular cleaning tasks into small, doable increments, and I spend a lot more time with family without feeling like I should be doing something else. Living with less has been a journey, and we are not done with it yet.
What are some of the benefits you hope to gain from living with less stuff? Please let us know in the comments below.