About that Stuff

Not eating animals is the easiest, most peaceful, and most rewarding decision I make every day. Not too far behind is not buying stuff I don’t need. My transition to minimalism created additional peace and freedom, further aligned my actions and values, and strengthened my focus on what matters.

Minimalism means that we strive to buy and own less—to own items we need and remove and not buy items we don’t need. By focusing our lives on impacting others rather than acquiring things, we live with a greater purpose. Minimalism helps us prioritize what matters most and frees us from consumer culture and the disruptive feeling of having stuff. It keeps us from feeling overwhelmed in our space and liberates us with less in our drawers and closets and on our walls. And it allows us to give more and feel the joy of lifting others, and may even reduce guilt, depression, and worry—feelings that often accompany overconsumption.

But minimalism doesn’t mean owning nothing; it means thinking critically about what we own and buy. It’s about trying not to bring something into our home unless needed. We achieve this goal by thinking about how we’ll feel when we own it, what else we could do with the money to better serve the world and the negative impact of what we buy on the planet.

Minimalism empowers us to eliminate the excess in our life—and that will differ for everyone. The result should be more freedom, fulfillment, and focus on what matters. These tips may help you live a minimalist lifestyle.

  • Consider if others will benefit from your stuff, and if you need it or use it.
  • Buy food. Avoid feeding the consumer culture.
  • Instead of gifts, donate to charities in people’s names because the charity’s beneficiaries need help more than people need gifts.
  • Keep a car (if you need one) and phone until they no longer work. Take mass transportation as often as possible.
  • Live in a small place to conserve energy and reduce land use.
  • Avoid buying new clothes; buy from vintage shops whenever possible.
  • Regularly examine what you have to determine if there’s anything else you can donate to charities, e.g., clothing, kitchen appliances, toys, books, etc. Chip away at emptying drawers and closets.

Minimalism gives us freedom from a material possessions-focused culture. Our culture teaches us that acquiring things: the big house, the fancy car, the giant television, the Olympic-size pool, extravagant jewelry, endless home decorations, and clothing indicates success. People reach for these items without realizing the lifestyle likely misaligns with their value system. All the beauty we need is within us.

Life should be about having less and giving more. That should be the mark of success. Minimalism allows us to accomplish this goal by valuing thinking and giving, which creates calm and independence in the process. Minimalism grounds and fulfills us in new ways, helps us reach our potential and reduces our carbon footprint. It inspires us to disengage from the madness of holiday shopping and the race to be rich with belongings. We become successful when we realize all we want is only what we need.


2 thoughts on “About that Stuff

  1. I totally agree with you Andrew. Been doing this for a few years now. I just gave away to garbage bags full of clothes I no longer wore this weekend. It is so freeing and so necessary!

  2. I moved into a small place and it is such a joy! It is easy to keep it clean and it forces me to decide is something really worth the space. I too am vegetarian and living kindly and small makes me feel happier and lighter every day.

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