At its core, minimalist living is the removal of the unnecessary in order to pursue the primary. Minimalism is more than just getting rid of stuff. It’s about embracing the experience beyond decluttering.
A minimalist lifestyle is rich in both physical and psychological benefits. If you’ve found your way here, you are at least curious about minimalist living and how it can benefit your life. There are many reasons why people pursue a minimalist lifestyle. Understanding your why is the key to keeping your motivation and unlocking your potential. Here are 10 specific benefits of minimalist living:
1. Less Stuff = Less Stress
There is a definite connection between clutter and stress. Chaotic living environments create anxiety and make focusing difficult. Constantly looking for misplaced items results in running late. Your kids can’t find their shoes. Your husband lost his keys. You can’t remember where you placed an important paper. All these small problems stack up, creating an environment rife with tension. And like dominoes, one bad mood or attitude triggers a cascade of consequences.
In contrast, a minimalist home is designed so that every item has a purpose and a place. And when habits are created to support this practice, it creates a harmonious environment.
2. Less time cleaning and more time living
How much of your day revolves around picking up stuff? If you spend much of your day cleaning up, putting away, and managing stuff, it’s time to make a change. Don’t look back at your life and realize you wasted years of it picking up stuff that wasn’t significant and maintaining things that didn’t matter. Declutter your home and find more time for living.
Removing clutter streamlines your home and helps you become more efficient. You no longer have to clean a space to work in it. You don’t have to take time to clean the kitchen island so that you can bring in groceries or cook a meal. You don’t have to organize your desk so that you can sit down to write. You don’t have to clear clutter from the table so that you can eat or work on a family project. You don’t have to pick up stuff to vacuum or move items to dust.
Less stuff enables you to clean in less time. And that extra time is better spent being present with the people in your home rather than cleaning up after them.
3. Improved Finances
There are many ways minimalist living can pad your pocketbook. Through the decluttering process, you can sell unwanted or unused things for cash.
As you consider the purpose and value of things in your home, your mindset toward consumerism shifts. You begin to be mindful about purchases and what you bring into your home. As a result, you shop less. And less shopping means less spending. You stop acquiring things and start acquiring Benjamins in your wallet.
Many minimalists end up downsizing homes or pursuing alternative lifestyles that interest them, which can trigger huge financial gains. They might live in a tiny home, decide to rent vs buy, or choose to live full time in an RV and travel the country.
In our case, a minimalist lifestyle enabled us to purchase our fixer-upper with a smaller mortgage. We have been focusing on paying down debt and are actively working to pay off our mortgage early so that we can have more employment flexibility and open up our lives to more options.
4. Own Higher Quality Things
Minimalist living means buying things with intention and mindfulness. Instead of buying something because it’s on sale or a good deal, you buy because it fits a felt need. You can also afford to purchase fair trade products if that is something you are passionate about.
Additionally, since you are buying less stuff, you can afford to purchase higher quality items. High-quality items will outlast the bargain buys and will be nicer to use throughout the lifetime of the item. Higher quality clothes, shoes, furniture, food, or art are all open to you when you shop with intention as a minimalist.
5. Creates Margin & Opportunity
Going through the process of minimizing will not only change your home; it will change your life. Courtney Carver of Be More with Less and author of Soulful Simplicity is a well-known example, but there are countless others out there who pursued minimalism and radically deviated from the path they had previously been on.
A minimalist lifestyle creates more focus, energy, and time. It helps you refocus and live your priorities. Minimalism opens creative doors. What will you do with the margin that minimalist living creates?
6. Serve, Inspire, and Contribute to Others
Streamlining life through minimalism creates opportunities to contribute to things bigger than yourself. Through the decluttering process, you can bless others with items you no longer need or want. You create an example for your children about living a life focused on priorities. Minimalist living promotes valuing people and experiences over stuff. It teaches children to be intentional and reduces entitlement.
Thanks to the improved finances mentioned above, you have more money and resources to dedicate to causes that are near and dear to your heart. Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist started The Hope Effect to impact orphan care in Central America after transforming his life with minimalism.
One of our larger goals as a family (and of my blog) is to provide substantial monthly support for orphanages that care for and educate girls rescued from human trafficking and other at-risk situations.
7. Productivity Improves
Clutter demands mental bandwidth. According to researchers at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, visual stimuli in your workspace competes for your attention, which can deplete mental resources available for optimal focus. By removing clutter from your surroundings, you can improve your focus and become more productive.
Sophie Leroy, a business professor at the University of Minnesota, coined the phrase “attention residue” in her research to describe what happens when we break from one project or task to complete another.
“Attention residue is when thoughts about a task persist and intrude while performing another task,” Leroy said.
It’s like having too many browser tabs open online at one time. Each tab takes up working memory, which can eventually lead to significant performance issues. Those lingering tasks on your to-do list- those unfinished and half-finished projects- they are reducing your cognitive processing and your ability to focus on the task at hand.
8. Minimalist living means less decision fatigue
It is estimated that the average adult makes about 35,000 decision in any given day Thankfully, a minimalist lifestyle reduces the number of daily decisions you have to make. Minimalism can reduce the stress of what to wear each day through a capsule wardrobe. You can even make a capsule wardrobe for your kids! Simplifying your food routines & recipes can help you get dinner on the table more quickly and easily. Less clutter means less time thinking about where to put everything and more time getting things done.
9. Improved Health
There are many physical and psychological benefits of minimalism. When our lives don’t reflect our priorities, we feel overworked and undervalued. We become stressed and feel like we are running on fumes.
Stress causes all sorts of drama on your body, on your mood, and on your behavior. Headaches, fatigue, sleep problems, depression, lack of motivation, restlessness, and irritability can all be common effects of stress according to the Mayo Clinic. Stress can cause you to overeat, smoke or use drugs, and exercise less. Minimalist living can reduce your stress, which in turn promotes your physical and mental health.
10. Environmental Benefits
Buying less stuff means less packaging & less waste. It reduces your carbon footprint because you consume less and produce less waste. With less stuff, minimalists often choose to live in smaller spaces, which use fewer materials to build and need less energy to run.
So what’s the ultimate benefit of a minimalist lifestyle? Freedom!
The mindset behind minimalism creates independence. Minimalists free up time because they have fewer decisions to make. They have less stuff to maintain and care for. Weekends are no longer spent cleaning, reorganizing, and catching up on all the stuff. Instead, time is spent on things that truly matter.
A lifestyle of less leads to a lifestyle of more.
Less stuff. Less stress. Less cleaning. Less decision-making.
More time. More health. More energy. More money. More opportunity. More peace of mind. More freedom.
Discover your passions under all your stuff. Pursue a minimalist lifestyle and find a life that isn’t marked by deprivation and rules but is full of opportunity, peace of mind, and freedom!