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Minimalism: Consuming less, enjoying life more

Posted on Friday November 01, 2019

Minimalism: Consuming less, enjoying life more

The less is best concept has been gaining popularity, particularly among the younger generation. Whether out of concern for the environment, a desire to manage their money more effectively or simply to make more room for things that truly spark joy, many people are seeking to adopt a minimalist way of life. Let’s take a closer look at this trend that has grown into a movement.

What exactly is minimalism?

Minimalism means limiting your material possessions in order to streamline your living space and keep only what is actually important to you. Many studies have shown that people accumulate things in an effort to meet certain emotional needs and, in a misdirected way, improve their self-esteem. Minimalists strive to change their relationship with material things by reducing—or even eliminating—this dependence and replacing it with something more meaningful. Their goal? To live a more fulfilling life, with less!

Embracing minimalism to create space for what’s important

According to minimalists, cleaning house also helps to clarify things inside our heads. The main goal is to declutter our lives and start focusing on what’s truly important: experiences, objects that have sentimental value or serve a real use, and, of course, interpersonal relationships. An original study conducted by psychologist Lucas A. Keefer and colleagues at the University of Southern Mississippi and published in 2012 in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology revealed that people become more attached to objects as compensation if they perceive that the people close to them are unreliable. Taking a trip that helps us grow as a person or doing an outdoor activity with friends instead of buying a new watch, for example, is an approach in keeping with the minimalist way of thinking.

Simplifying your budget (and your life!)

Are you in your twenties, living in an apartment and working to pay off a student debt? Minimalism may clearly appeal to you for financial reasons. It’s simple math: the less you consume, the less you spend!

Vicky Payeur, founder of the site Vivre avec moins (“Living with Less”), discovered minimalism while she was juggling school with a full-time job. She says that thanks to her new lifestyle, she was able to pay off her $16,000 debt in less than three years. The many other people who have made similar changes include Carmen LeBlanc and Maxime Bernard, a couple in Moncton who decided to relocate to a tiny house and drastically declutter their lives.

When it comes to budgeting, what’s important is to spend our money on what gives us long-term satisfaction instead of superfluous objects that we then constantly have to replace. The next time you’re considering a major purchase (a vehicle or computer, for example), instead of embarking on complicated calculations to figure out how much you can afford, simply make a list of your needs and your reasons for wanting the object in question. You may soon realize that an e-bike and a public transit pass may serve you better (at least for the moment) than the convertible of your dreams—with plenty of money left over to move forward with other projects large and small that you care about.

Minimalism: A how-to

Streamlining your life is a personal journey that can take time but, if you stick to it, is definitely worth the effort.

  • Sort your objects. Put items that you haven’t been using regularly into boxes. After three months, if you still haven’t used them, ask yourself why you need to keep them. Consider dropping off clothes at a local thrift store and giving new life to old Barbie dolls and Lego taking up space in closets by donating them to worthy organizations like Moncton Multiples or What Kids Need Moncton. By tidying up your surroundings, you’ll make other people happy while also doing your part for the environment!
  • Organize your surroundings. Designate a specific storage space for each type of object. This will make it easier to identify the objects around you that you don’t really need.
  • Pay cash for day-to-day expenses. Paying cash using money you hold in your hands helps to remind you of the value we assign to things. Small purchases made using plastic cards may seem insignificant, but they accumulate regardless, cluttering both your bank statements and your living space! Use sound financial tools to help you budget.
  • Look to others for inspiration. Books and shows abound on this trending topic; check out Minimalism, Tidying up with Marie Kondo or Tiny House Nation, all available on Netflix.

Taking the time to do things right

As you embrace your new lifestyle, don’t forget that your happiness is the ultimate goal! It’s okay to keep certain objects of great importance to you (such as a treasured LP or book collection) even if you use them only occasionally. The objective is not to get rid of your entire belongings but rather to gradually rethink your relationship with material things and adopt a lighter, healthier approach to daily life. Try it out! The best way to learn the positive effects of minimalism is to experience it yourself.

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