Less is the new more. Currently, there are over 7.6 billion people on the planet. This is 3 billion more than when I was born. The pattern of overconsumption has led us to a critical point where the “American dream” of rampant consumption can’t continue or be replicated in the developing world because it’s inherently unsustainable. There are a multitude of benefits to minimalism and adopting the less is new more mentality, and while minimalism may not fall directly under the veil of sustainability, ultimately buying less has less effect on the environment.
The growing popularity of minimalism is a reaction against the comfortable routine of widespread consumption and disregard for the natural ecosystem that is threatening our planet. The pursuit of happiness has been co-opted by consumer society, with buying more, equating to more affluence, more success and ultimately more happiness. So what if owning less could bring more joy into your life?
I urge you to consider the ‘more of less’….
Less stuff = more time
The less you consume the less time you spend buying stuff, organizing stuff, servicing the items you bought, repairing and replacing them. Think about the time you spend cleaning all your kitchen appliances or taking care of your garden tools. Compare this time with what value you get from these objects. Is your time worth it? What would you do with more time?
Less stuff = more energy
The less time you spend shopping and consuming the more energy you have to spend on things you’re passionate about. When you have less, you have less to worry about and this frees up more energy and space to focus on what matters. Have you been thinking about adopting a new hobby or spending more time with loved ones?
Less stuff = more money
The math is simple, the less you buy, the less you spend, and the more you have. Purposefully owning less is a big step, however, spending money you haven’t earned and taking on unwanted debt to buy things you don’t need is ludicrous. Storage space is big business, making more than $22,000,000,000 annually in the US alone. I used to have multiple storage spaces in different countries, when I look back; I realize it was expensive and ridiculous. At the time there were things I couldn’t part with, but realistically once I left, I rarely looked back. We grow emotionally attached to the things we buy, and we don’t want to sever this bond when our circumstances change. But letting go of things from the past gives you more mental space and freedom to think about the present, without carrying any unnecessary weight from the past.
Less stuff =less environmental impact
The more stuff we buy and consume, the more stuff ultimately ends up in a landfill. This means more plastic in the ocean, more greenhouse gasses and more reliance on oil and gas. We have over-fished the seas, poured toxic chemicals into our waterways, ruined our soil, killed the coral reefs, and dumped tons of plastic creating islands patches the size of Texas in our ocean. We’ve decreased biodiversity, and altered the climate increasing desertification resulting in the largest environmental refugee migration in recent history. So we may ask ourselves when is enough, enough?
Making a conscious choice to own less, takes you out of the comparison game and liberates us to create a conscious life that serves both ourselves, our loved ones and our planet. So will you say yes to more time, more energy, more money and more freedom? Ultimately you will find in time that there is more joy in owning less.
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