Frequently, I find myself intrigued by the idea of having less. I’ve never really been a material person. You know, except when I was 14 and wanted every pair of Nike’s I could get my hands on. But the older I grow, the more I realize less is more.
Having less doesn’t mean you have to go without necessities. People often equate having more with their ability to experience life fully. Having fewer things materially doesn’t mean you are any less of a person, internally or externally. Sure, it’s cool to have nice things. But what do those nice things do for you? Honestly, what substance do they bring to your life? Does having the latest model vehicle with all of the features for 50,000 dollars make you feel good inside? Or, does having the most extravagant 400,000 house on the block make you feel all warm and fuzzy? Maybe it does, perhaps it doesn’t. But why? The answer lies within you.
Why do you feel so good when you can make a purchase? Is it because of receiving the actual product, or all of the hard work you put in to get it? It’s both. Sure, you worked hard to buy your incredible 55-inch television, but you also enjoy watching awesome sports games on it. Would you still want the tv if it was 42 inches? Would you appreciate your house if you bought it for 100,000 dollars? You should.
Minimalism has become quite the mainstream word and trend for millennials trading in their Mercedes for something practical, or even further, trading in their traditional house for a tiny one. Over the past five or so years, the market for tiny houses has exploded. It’s not just younger generations who are interested either. There are plenty of retirees, and even middle-aged individuals still working, who want to partake in the tiny house revolution. The goal? It’s to live a more minimal, simplistic lifestyle.
There’s been plenty of coverage surrounding tiny houses, but the narrative that sticks around involves living a better life. Many couples have traded in what they thought was their dream home, with 4,000 square feet, five rooms, four baths, and what seems to be endless space filled with junk, for a 350 square foot tiny house on wheels with nothing more than the necessities. Why is this? Well, there’s been somewhat of a colossal shift in the way people are treating traditional living. Many people now want to live minimally, minimizing the number of things they can accumulate over the years. Instead, they’d like to focus on life aspects that truly matter, such as quality time with family and friends.
Less is more, more or less
Minimalism is about much more than just not having a lot of stuff. It’s about the mindset to enjoy each day for what it is. It’s about waking up and only having the necessities, which broadens your perspective. The hope is that rather than thinking about how you can fill up empty space in your house with the purchase of a new couch or drawer, you might think about yourself, your growth, and what you want out of this life. Additionally, living in a small space essentially forces the issue of you going outside more and being one with nature—just another reason so many people are now living tiny.
Now, I am not saying you should drop everything you’re doing, sell all your stuff, trade-in your house for a tiny one, and live sustainably off the land for the rest of your years, but think about it. Why do you do the things you do? Don’t be afraid to question yourself, it’s a part of growth. Why do you take your kids out to fancy dinners when they could have a memory that would last them a lifetime if you stayed home and made a meal together? Imagine, if rather than taking them on vacations a few times a year to make memories, you sought to live every day like one, but without all of the extras? Without the shoes they think will make them happy, without the show they think they need to watch, without the game they want to play every day.
Less can often be more and encourages growth mightily. Living this way also gives us more gratitude towards the things we do have. The way we act, as humans, typically develops from our surroundings. We are all products of our environment in one way or another. Therefore, as a person, what is your environment? Do you buy many material items and put them around you, ultimately placing your value in them? Or are you wearier with your spending, realizing growth can come from having the ability to buy something, but not doing so because you don’t need it?
Do you make purchases that matter? Like providing yourself and those around you with tools to grow, such as books and reading subscriptions? Or finding a home your whole family loves because it’s not about the size of the house but the people in it? When we view life with a less is more approach and mindset, we free ourselves of worldly expectations set before us, allowing us to be more present and breathe life into our every interaction. Because we know our purpose, and the people in our lives are of way more significance than the things around us.