Are minimalists happier?
I was thinking the other day about the rise in popularity of ‘minimalism’.
Even though, I am a self-proclaimed minimalist, I sometimes question if this is even truly valid or not based on what I read on other blogs of people actually cataloguing and categorizing EVERY. SINGLE. THING. THEY. OWN.
There are people who can literally photograph that they only have 5 pairs of shoes. And they’re women.
I could not (and frankly do not want to nor have the time to) do that….
I like variety, style, and as a result, I am pretty minimalist in things like my home (take a tour of my home here!), I am decidedly NOT minimalist in the style sphere.
But really at the end of this all, are minimalists happier? Does minimalism make someone happy!?
Let’s dig a bit deeper and think about this.
Were they forced into it or did they willingly go all in?
Thinking of my Hoarder Parents, if you forced them into minimalism, they’d be unhappy as sour clams, and slowly re-accumulate MORE JUNK to make up and fill the space of their home to make it feel ‘homey’ and ‘comfortable’ again, rather than sparse, empty and unloved <— all adjectives people use to describe my home because I don’t have rugs, lots of knickknacks or crap lying around.
If you went whole hog into minimalism willingly, then yes, you feel FREE when you have less stuff. You see less visual clutter, you’re smiling, there are empty spaces that give a sense of space (you don’t need to put things on every square inch of space by the way, you can just leave it empty and leave it be…).
You may even start to find things easier when you have less of them.
Minimalists do maximize the use of their space which is usually small…
For small spaces, you kind of HAVE to be a minimalist. If you start accumulating and gathering stuff like you had a huge house, there is no way you could keep hoarding stuff and feel comfortable with your ever-shrinking space.
People who do this, tend to think they need a bigger place, they sell their ‘starter home’ and then upgrade, and upgrade and upgrade….
THIS by the way, is NOT A BAD THING. If you need the space and acknowledge it, can afford it, and have thought about it as a comfortable amount of room for your family — GO FOR IT.
I am just saying that sometimes people reach the point where they have a McMansion but then realize they don’t use 75% of it, and only really hang out in the kitchen or the bedroom (both true in our cases).
The rest of the space, which they are paying for, is just to store stuff.
Or to use it for the 1% of their life.…which makes it very VERY expensive storage space depending on what city you live in (calculate out how much you are spending to store stuff by taking your price per square foot and then multiplying it out to the space you don’t use to see how much you’re paying to store stuff).
$800 in condo fees, $1500 mortgage = $2300 a month.
1000 square feet means…
$2300 / 1000 square feet = $2.3/square foot
If you only use 50% of your space, that means you are paying 500 square feet x $2.30 = $1150 a month for this unused space.
…and they spend less money in general on things but maybe more on experiences!
Less stuff = less trouble = less maintenance = less repairs = less upkeep = less stress
That’s basically it. They don’t buy stuff so they don’t have to worry about it or fix it, and they use that money to invest instead in the stock market, and take trips more often with that saved money.
This all sounds GREAT.
..but they seem to have this constant fear of not being minimalist enough
I read a lot of this on minimalist blogs.
Counting out their items. Thinking about HOW MUCH MORE they could pare down. Resisting (denying?) their urge to buy something frivolous like a painted mug because it would mean adding another item to their list.
I see them talking constantly about how stuff ruins your life (not true by the way…), and about how much freer they are to just pick out 6 shirts and have 2 pairs of pants to mix and match (omg… my style nightmare, truly.)
This all sounds very restrictive, stressful and frankly, painful.
If you are living like this, and being obsessed over living with just a teacup and a mat, it sort of takes over your life.
You aren’t really happy in the end because you’re squashing all your desires for things (little or big) in an attempt to prove how much of a minimalist you are to ….. whom exactly? To whom?
Think about it.
That said, as long as you are HAPPY that you don’t have to think about it, and only have 6 outfits to wear in total with 3 pairs of shoes, GO FOR IT.
Just.. think about whether you are really happy or not, denying yourself all the time (if you do that).