The benefits of subtraction – the freedom and happiness gains of owning less

The simple life

My wife and I made the decision a few months ago to live with fewer possessions. We’ve sold, donated or discarded a huge percentage of our family’s possessions. Tables, books, TV’s, desks, outdoor furniture, boxes of Lego, clothes, plus other things that now just didn’t seem necessary in our lives. When we actively started looking around at our “stuff”, we realized how superfluous a lot of it really was. It’s been a liberating process.

This intentional choice has delivered a number of tangible benefits for us:

(1) Less physical clutter = less mental clutter. As possessions left the house I felt lighter. I didn’t regret these decisions but instead they bought me great joy. The new found physical space also gave me more mental space.

(2) Increased awareness of what we already have has meant we are now buying less. When you’ve spent the last few months decluttering and removing excess things from your life the last thing you then want to do is go shopping. We are now spending less and saving more than ever before.

(3) More time. Owning less stuff means less cleaning, organizing and finding places to store our things. It feels like we have found a way to circumvent this endless cycle. It’s not until the unneeded possessions are gone do you realize what an enormous time sink owning them really was.

(4) Increased gratitude. A heightened awareness of how much we have (even after the great cull !) reiterates to me how lucky we are in life. I also have a greater appreciation for what’s left.

(5) Realization that possessions are just things. The shift from mindless consumerism has dramatically changed my mindset and values. No longer am I lusting after the latest iPhone or spending hours on Amazon researching my next gadget purchase. In the end the latest and greatest isn’t really important, despite what the advertising industry tries to convince us otherwise. Things are just things and don’t ultimately bring you any long term joy.

(6) Less stuff enables more freedom. We’ve got more choices now about where we live and how we spend our time. We’ve got more money in our pockets to spend on experiences, travel or put towards future plans. The physical, psychological and financial weight has been lifted and opportunity awaits.

We are now in the process of moving house and downsizing to a much smaller apartment. Looking around me at all the boxes suggests we still have capacity to take this a lot further but I’m happy we are heading in the right direction


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5 thoughts on “The benefits of subtraction – the freedom and happiness gains of owning less

  1. Pingback: Minimalism Journey: Decluttering as a Source of Income | Simple Life Compass

  2. Pingback: How to live a more simple life without money worries | Simple Life Compass

  3. Hello! Great post and I totally agree with all your points! My husband and I also downsized to a 1 bed/1bath apartment from a 3/2 house. It feels soooo awesome to have less things! I wake up each morning with more appreciation of everything we own and more peaceful knowing that we only have things we actually use/need!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Financial mistakes, yes we made lots! | Simple Life Compass

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