Decluttering,  Minimalism

Four Benefits of Becoming a Minimalist

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.

10 Comments

    • Cyn

      Whoee

      love your ideas. Artist here and fell into visual minimalism studying Picasso’.The camera gives us every visual detail snd eliminates the human touch. That is unless you buy ART photography at those prices. So minimalism makes you more aware and less judgmental of creatives. Who take different paths than the expected

      I like your ideas and your writing. Style and i wish you well. You must be a closet intellect

      • Annie

        Hello, Cyn! I agree about minimalism making you more aware and less judgemental. Until I experienced minimalism (and left it behind), I didn’t understand the beauty of it. I am discovering that now.

        Thanks for your comment!

    • Annie

      Very true, Linda. As I reduce the content of this tiny home I can feel myself relaxing. I don’t see 100 things I need to accomplish each time I sit down to rest. It has also made things more peaceful with my daughter, since we don’t have to fuss with each other over who will clean what!

    • Annie

      Most definitely, Kelly! I tend to sleep like a baby every month after my monthly Finance Day. That is the day when I catch up on all of my financial paperwork (I log several items from my investments, my book sales, etc.) and pay all of my bills for the month. Just knowing that I will be okay over the next month is heaven!

  • squire

    You don’t own “stuff”, it owns you. I love living in a small place. Buying decisions are not just about money but also about the fact that an addition has to be countered with a removal of something you already own. Will the new item provide a better quality of life that the item that has to be removed?

    • Annie

      Excellent point, Squire! I agree completely. It is so easy to fall into the consumerism trap but I’ve learned just how burdensome it can be. Thanks for commenting!

  • Carolina

    Dear Annie,

    I wholeheartedly agree with the benefits of minimalism you mentioned. Here ‘s another one, that might sound a bit morbid to some people:
    LIving a minimalist life means your children (or any other heirs you may have) won’t have to sort through and clean out tons, and tons and tons of your stuff!!

    We lost our dad last year, and it’s been a real blessing to us to be able to get rid of the belongings none of the (grand)children wanted rather quickly. It was such a hectic time, and so full of stress and grief.. I shudder to think how much more difficult things would have been had dad still owned a big house full of things. And all of us children living quite far away… To all of you out there coping with just that: you have my deepest sympathy and I wish you all loads of energy and strength!

    Take care Annie,
    Carolina

    • Annie

      Thanks for that, Carolina! My auntie is currently thinning out her possessions so that her children won’t have the burden of sorting them when she passes. While I won’t have to worry about that for quite a while (hopefully), it is a very valid point. I was overwhelmed when I had to sort through my parental home once my mother passed.