I was in a very transitional place when I moved from Philly to LA. That year I’d lived in New York and LA before moving back in with my dad for my final semester of college. College had this duality of teaching me how to be mobile and untied to things, while also feeding my consumerism because I didn’t have any real financial responsibility and could afford to be frivolous with my money.
Moving to LA forced me to downsize and learn to live with less. Everything I owned had to fit in 2 suitcases or be shipped in boxes. Rent was more expensive, the cost of living was higher. I had to learn to decipher between what was important and what wasn’t, because I couldn’t afford both anymore.
Although I am human and still very guilty of buying things I don’t need and spending money I don’t have, I’ve learned that adopting a more minimalist mentality gives you clarity and perspective and helps you thrive in every aspect of your life.
Here are 4 benefits from my experience with minimalism:
- Saves money: The initial and immediate benefit to minimalism is that you will absolutely spend less money. When you need less and you crave less, you spend less. Knowing how to really utilize the clothes in your closet and the stuff in your home is key. It’s so easy to start living beyond your means and spending more than you can afford to spend on things that you don’t really need. It’s harder to reprogram and look beyond the immediate satisfaction that buying something brings you. If it doesn’t bring long-term value to your life, chances are you don’t need it.
- Clears your mind: We spend a lot of mental energy on worrying and planning and anticipating. That extends all the way from what we buy and the bills we pay, to the foods we eat and the people we spend time with. Minimalism isn’t just about physical things, it’s about your overall mindset. It’s about living with excess. When you start to identify what’s excess and what’s necessity, it helps you weed through the people in your life, the activities you spend time doing, the foods you eat, the things you spend money on–it really goes across the board. If you get rid of that stuff, the stuff that’s weighing down your mental energy and not doing anything to make you better or drive you forward, you have more time to focus on you and what you actually want.
- Allows you to purge: Decluttering and detoxing your space is so important. Messiness carries an energy that makes you unproductive, stressed out and lazy. Getting rid of the things that aren’t important allows you to make space for the things that are. It helps you rediscover the value in what you choose to have around you. They’re not just part of the pile, they’ve been selected for a purpose and a place in your space. When we hold onto things, we hold onto the memories and the experiences that we associate with those items. Sometimes it’s nostalgia, but sometimes it keeps you trapped in the past and doesn’t give you space to move forward and make new memories. Purging is freeing. It’s more than just a physical action, it allows you to regain control of your life and live consciously.
- Realize you actually need less to be happy: We put so much value on the things that we have and the things that we want. So many of our goals are material. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting things and working hard to earn them, the problem comes when our self-worth is tied up in what we own. Social media is good for making us feel inadequate for not living the lives we see other people living. It’s sociological, but it’s also just business. The idea that we need things to be happy is what drives consumerism. When you realize that you don’t need all that stuff to prove your worth, you find confidence in being fundamentally yourself.