If you’ve started downsizing your stuff or you’re attempting a minimalist lifestyle and you’re not sure it’s benefiting you, try this:
Pick one thing you LIKE, but don’t need, and get rid of it. Donate it, sell it or give it away. I’ve done this with clothing, shoes, jewelry and home decor. I haven’t gotten rid of it explicitly to test myself, but I’ve gotten rid of it because I recognize it as something I don’t need, but like. And then I question why I have it. And I debate with myself about if I would miss it if I got rid of it, about how much happiness, if any, it’s bringing me. But by now, I’ve gone through this process enough times to skip the questions. Because I know if I need to ask them, then I should get rid of that thing. If I have to ask myself if I’d miss it, I wouldn’t. If I have to ask myself how much happiness it’s bringing me, it’s not bringing me enough to warrant keeping it.
There are a handful of things that are wants and not needs I would sincerely miss if I had to part with them. I would miss my iPad. I would miss my car (okay, maybe I wouldn’t miss the 1998 Chevy Lumina I drive, but I would miss having a car of my own). But I can live without 99% of the stuff I have, but don’t need. And so I am choosing to. Not all at once. It’s a process (and if you want an actual term for it, it’s called downshifting and I’m not original in choosing this lifestyle).
So if you want to know if minimalism is really worth it for you, downshift. Pick one thing you like, but don’t need (just don’t pick one of those things you know you absolutely would NOT want to live without. Minimalism is not about getting rid of everything. It’s about living without the things you can live without so you can do and live with the things most important to you). Get rid of it. Sell it, donate it or give it away.
Are you heartbroken without It? If you’re like me, you’ll forget about it after a few days. And life will go on. In fact, you may be even happier knowing you can live without it, knowing your stuff doesn’t have control over you anymore. And the best part is, once you’ve done it once, it’s easier to do it again.
When you can master your stuff instead of letting your stuff master you, that’s when you know minimalism is benefiting you. That’s when you’ll be able to benefit from the true blessing of minimalism: to have the time, money and energy for what you most want from your life because you’ve eliminated the things that were getting in your way of living life the way you want to.