I initially started down the path of minimalism before I knew the term existed. As a single mother, I discovered that the less I owned, the less time I had to spend cleaning my home. The less I purchased, the less I had to work. Since I wanted to be the best single mother I could be by spending as much time with my children as possible, I embraced the lifestyle of less.
At first, minimalism allowed me to save up enough money during the school year to allow me to take summer vacations off. I would spend every summer savoring my children. In time, minimalism granted me the ability to take several years away from the public workforce. I was eventually blessed with the ability to become a stay-at-home single mother for the last few years of my youngest daughter’s childhood.
I would have never been able to accomplish that if not for minimalism.
Even if you have no desire to live out of a backpack with less than 100 possessions, there are tangible benefits to living your life with less. Here are the four primary benefits that I have discovered:
Minimalism liberates your time
When applied to your schedule as well as your possessions, minimalism can free up large blocks of time. You can use that time to rest or focus upon your goals. I recently learned just how valuable a minimalist schedule could be when I started college last semester. By eliminating toxic friendships, simplifying my daily task list around the home, eliminating several time-wasters (primarily social media and news websites), and focusing on my priorities, I liberated enough time from my hectic schedule to study while ensuring that I got enough rest.
Minimalism reduces your finance burden
While the thoughtful application of minimalism causes you to eliminate unnecessary purchases, it can also allow you to save a small fortune on the two major expenses of life: housing and transportation. I have saved over $100 a month since I eliminated my van in 2014; that number would be even higher if I had possessed a car payment or had owned a vehicle that required full-coverage insurance. I know one person who reduced her auto expense by over $300 a month by eliminating her car payment.
A two-bedroom rental in this area currently costs around $500/month plus utilities. I cut that expense in half by renting a one-bedroom home at first. When my daughter suggested that we become roommates and split the expenses instead of her moving out, we reduced our housing burden even more. We have to be creative to cohabitate in such a small space but the savings (I spend around $200 a month for my portion of the expenses in winter) is immense. It allows me to work a part-time job so that I can focus in my priorities of college and writing.
While I don’t have as much to invest these days due to the expense of attending college, I am still able to set aside money each month, allowing it to build for a future investment.
Minimalism reduces clutter
Before making a purchase, a minimalist will ask if the item will provide them with a tangible benefit. In the case of many impulse purchases, that answer is ‘no.’ As a result, the minimalist doesn’t bring a lot of excess into their home. Over time, the minimalist also examines their possessions to determine whether the item is still being used. The unused items are eliminated, reducing clutter and the need to care and store the items in question.
In some cases, the purchase of a single item can eliminate a number of items around your home. When I purchased a small washer earlier this year, I reduced the amount of clothing I needed to own significantly. Rather than toss or donate the excess, I am using it up. I have eliminated a tidy stack of shirts and pants over the summer, converting many of those worn-out items into cleaning cloths that we discard whenever we use one to clean up something nasty. In time, I will have freed up a significant amount of space in this tiny home and saved a fortune on clothing as well. There is no point in buying new when I have such a surplus, after all.
Minimalism gives you peace of mind
When you can look around your home and know that you have nothing to do, that your home is clean and your tasks completed, you feel a peace of mind that many in this modern age never experience.
I first experienced that sensation when I moved here in 2011 after drastically paring down my possessions. It is so easy to clean and maintain a home that isn’t filled with clutter that you can easily tidy your home. Going to bed with the knowledge that there is nothing left for you to do allows you to sleep better than words can explain.
Do you know of any other advantages of minimalism? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.