Justine Harrington on October 3, 2016 5 Comments It’s no secret that the minimalist trend has been taking root in our culture for years now. Minimalist living (aka, the idea of consciously living with fewer possessions) is something that more and more people are practicing every day. Spates of new articles and research on this trend crop up daily, and there’s probably a new minimalist-focused HGTV show being filmed as we speak. But, minimalist living isn’t solely about living in a smaller space or having fewer possessions. It isn’t just about embracing a more modern aesthetic, or spending less money. No, what’s most important is this: by living simply, with less stuff, you can actually become happier in your day-to-day life. Here’s why. The Best Books About Minimalism on Amazon 1. Less Shopping For Stuff Equals More Time For Things That Matter When we make the choice to deliberately refrain from consuming material goods, surprising blocks of free time begin to crop up everywhere. Seriously, if weekend trips to Target and splurges at Pottery Barn aren’t part of your regular schedule anymore, you’ll likely be amazed at the extra hour of sunlight this can add to your day! And, less time spent shopping just means more time spent making space for the things in our lives that mean something – things like fostering friendships, being with family, and simply interacting with the people around us. After all, as dozens of pro-minimalism articles before this have preached, there’s actually tried-and-true scientific evidence that proves when humans spend more time on strengthening social bonds, we tend to be happier than if we’d spent that time acquiring stuff. Moral of the story? Shop less, spend more time with the people you love, and get ready to reap the serotonin benefits. 2. You’ll Be Saving Money For More Fulfilling Endeavors Obviously, cutting back on buying stuff saves money. But, by living a minimalist lifestyle, not only will you be able to squirrel more money away, you’ll also be able to spend your hard-earned cash on what really fulfills you. Instead of spending money on tangible items that (let’s be honest) you probably don’t need anyway, you can use that precious dough for something more worthwhile – experiences. More and more behavioral researchers are ascertaining that experiences (travel, meals, and other memory-creating moments) tend to bring us more happiness than material objects. Why? Because good experiences live on as sweet memories in our brains, giving us a mental treasure trove of items to parse through when we’re feeling down. Also, interestingly, there’s plenty of research out there that shows that even the mere anticipation of an experience tends to bring about more satisfaction than the anticipation of purchasing a product. Essentially, we as humans derive more pleasure from thinking about a concert we’ll be attending, as opposed to speculating about when the new iPhone is set to hit the marketplace. This makes sense, if you think about it – the former is infused with fun possible scenarios and probable socializing, whereas the latter is an object with a shelf life. Bottom line: by spending more money on life experiences that bring us joy and growth (piano lessons, the ballet, a simple outing with friends), we’re creating lifelong memories and becoming more content in the process. 3. Cleaning Your Home Just Got 100x Easier What if you could cut your cleaning time virtually in half just by getting rid of some things you never use? Wouldn’t you do it? This is truly one of the major benefits of living with less stuff – with fewer knickknacks on the shelf or pieces of furniture in the living room, you’ll spend less time dusting and vacuuming, and more time doing the things you actually want to be doing. Plus, not only is it easier to keep your space tidy when you have less stuff, but the will to be cleaner and more organized will probably be stronger, too. Think about it – when you have fewer things crowding your view of your home, you’re much more likely to keep clean what you do have, considering it’s all in plain sight. A clean home is a happy home, and a minimalist approach to living will help you get there faster! 4. You’ll Become A Whole Lot Less Stressed By opting for a less-cluttered lifestyle, you’ll be paving the way towards a more peaceful way of being. Why? Well, whether you’re conscious of it or not, that pesky “keeping up with the Joneses” consumer mentality is likely wreaking havoc on your inner life. Let’s face it: in the pursuit of buying all the latest appliances, building up a collection of whatever and home décor items, there’s simply no end in sight – Apple will forever be cranking out products, annoyingly envy-worthy Pinterest boards will keep piling up, and by engaging in this endless consumer loop, you’ll likely just end up more exhausted and stressed than ever before. By vowing to purchase something only when necessary, as opposed to recreationally, you’ll be able to give your mind the peace and quiet that it deserves. No more feeling stressed about who’s got the coolest new tech gadget, no more ruminating on the things you wish you could have – just inner serenity and contentment with what’s already yours. 5. Minimalist Living Is The Key To Meaningful Living By clearing out the debris of junk in your living room, your closet, or wherever you’ve accumulated too much stuff (and, okay, for most of us, this is every room in our home!), you’re actually making space (literally) for what’s meaningful in life. After all, when we choose to live more simply, we’re actually choosing to live intentionally – by questioning what we purchase and put it in our homes, we’re thinking thoughtfully about how we construct our lives. We’re learning to ask the right questions, the ones that will help bring us lasting fulfillment: What is truly important to me, in this life? What brings me real joy, the kind that sustains? By getting rid of physical baggage, the eradication of mental baggage naturally comes with the territory. And what could be happier than that?