In our newly married life (more on that later) my wife and I decided it was time to action our ‘living with less’ plan which we’d been discussing for some time already. On our recent honeymoon to Japan my wife and I realized that we simply didn’t need a huge amount of ‘stuff’ to get through day to day. As a side-note it’s important to understand that since my recent nuptials I’ll be overusing the word ‘wife’ in all of my posts due to my excitement for marrying my best friend and officially becoming ‘Hubby’.
Sure, the weather was warm in Japan and we weren’t working our corporate jobs so shorts and a t-shirt typically sufficed for the day. However this trip was different from others, I purposely packed less. I wanted to convince myself that I didn’t need everything that I’d left behind.
“I haven’t used this ‘stuff’ in years but maybe I’ll need it soon” #queue motion to put it back into the box that I’d pulled it from.
This was the thought I had each time I attempted to conduct a cleanup only to come back to that same possession years later and have the same thought. The fact of the matter; If I hadn’t gone back into the box to see what the hell was in it then I would have forgotten it completely.
Yesterday was my first day of my relentless attack on my possessions, no longer accepting my previous excuses to hold on. Ruthlessly I attacked every inch of my household with a new found addiction to throw out as much as I could. Although reducing possessions is still ongoing in my life by doing so, as well as traveling abroad, I’ve found the following 4 reasons why you should consider living with less.
4 Reasons Why You Should Consider Living with Less
1. Living with Less Reduces Fear
The more possessions you have the greater the fear you have of losing them
Why is it that you’re the owner of your possessions yet somehow they always end up owning you? The more possessions you have, and typically the more expensive they are, the greater the fear is of losing what you’ve worked so hard to gain.
It’s safe to say that past years of my life I was a “technoholic” always having the latest and greatest and paying the price to do so. At times my credit cards were full trying to sustain my greed. Each day that passed created a greater paranoia for losing what was worked so hard to own.
40 hours or more of slavery and punishment had been poured in each week to get this stuff so I was god damn superhuman in my over-protectiveness of “it”.
My house is filled with ‘stuff’ from top to bottom and I’ve honestly felt that for the past few years I’d been doing a somewhat decent job at resisting the temptation to buy just for the sake of buying. In a society that is built on consumerism it seems that people have forgotten the excitement for experiencing life and instead replaced it with their temporary excitement, and sense of achievement, as they purchase that new “thing”.
Subconsciously your possessions can prevent you from experiencing something new. Maybe it’s your brand new dream car you purchased which you love driving but no longer want to take it off road like your old car. In the end that dirt road might potentially lead to a much more memorable destination creating a greater experience for you to remember.
Take a good hard look around your house right now, what do you see? The only thing I noticed was that I seemed to need just a few rooms of the house and a handful of possessions within each of those areas. The rest of the rooms in the house and a lifetime of possessions was just unnecessary bulk in my life.
2. Living with Less Makes Decisions Easier
Decisions about your life are complicated and the fear of losing what you have is always a strong theme. If your possessions are creating financial burdens then your immediate decisions about your future will be based around your ability to continuing repaying your debts. That doesn’t provide you with the opportunity to reach your goals.
It’s difficult to find a clear path to your dreams when you’re so cluttered with the fear of what to do with your current life choices. It’s time to get tough and take a good hard look at yourself and decide just how much it all means to you. Most of your possessions you can get back easily even if you do rid yourself of them today and chances are once they’re gone you’ll never think about it again.
When it comes to the complications of long term traveling, quitting your job or chasing your dream consider writing a list of all the items you simple couldn’t live without. Chances are, if you do it correctly, they may just fit into a suitcase and backpack. If you’re willing to go head to head with the best of them then it may justt be the latter. All of a sudden the reduction in possessions makes your decision all the more simple.
3. Living With Less Increases your Freedom
How could I ever consider long term travel if it meant putting my pride and joy and years of acquired “stuff” in storage? Hell I couldn’t even leave the house without becoming obsessive compulsive, and checking each window and lock like a madman, in fear of losing what I owned.
When it comes to freedom and possessions there are two areas that shine through. Firstly it’s likely that your possessions cost you a significant amount of money. In fact so much so that you may be in debt using the same tired excuse “I don’t have the money travel“. Each time you purchase that shiny new TV, brand new car or a piece of furniture (so you’re home looks like the brochure of course!) consider how far that money might have taken you.
The fact is, it doesn’t just apply to travel. Consider this instead, “Could I have worked less and been content with a smaller income if I had not purchased ‘stuff'”. Maybe quitting the job that you dislike so much would be an easier decision if you understand what you really needed to sustain the lifestyle you desire.
The second area for freedom is you’re ability to get agile and your ability to move quickly. Packing up your home to move to a new one or to place your assets into long term storage takes significant time. Combine that with the cost to move or to store those possessions you now have a huge inhibitor in your ability to make a clear decision about your next steps.
4. Living With Less Improves your Relationships
On my recent travel adventures, especially travel abroad, one thing has been common with each trip, my relationship with my wife is improved. Don’t get my wrong life with my wife are always great! Spending more time with her and both of our families are some of my defining goals and reasons for attempting to change my life so heavily so it’s safe to say that I’m a lucky guy.
However with the constant swarm of our possessions, in particular technology, it’s easy to forget the impact they can have.
When your living with less, whether at home or traveling, and avoiding the distraction of your possessions you’re forced to find something to do with your time. You’re unable to to procrastinate in front of the television, spend hours on social media sites or just get lost in the “busyness of your hectic life”.
You end up conversing in hours of conversation, finding out more about the person than you knew the day before. You become an improved listener as you’re focus becomes on your relationship instead of the frequent buzzing in your pocket of your mobile phone. Lastly you tend to head to bed at the same time which means your wife gets more of the cuddles that she loves so much. These are just are handful of things too.
At the end of the day you might not want to live out of a suitcase or backpack and I totally understand. That life and living with less doesn’t always appeal. Just remember to not lose sight of how much you really need to live and hopefully it may make your future pathways a little clearer.
I find that death sometimes put things in perspective, as morbid as it sounds, but the truth is…
If you died tomorrow would you be happy if you only had your possessions to look back on in life
Living with less takes some training and practice, like anything, but once you get the hang of it you might just find that all those unachievable dreams and life goals seem so much closer. I want you to join me as we attempt to reduce the clutter in our lives. Let me know your stories about living with less be it for or against.