Living with less. Less but better!
> What if you bought less stuff and therefore had more time and money for things that are much better for you?
> What if you stopped spending money automatically?
> What if you had much less things in your house, but what there is you all use and is also valuable for you?
> What if you stopped scheduling those appointments that actually bring you little?
There would be so much:
- and literally room
Also, Living with less contributes to your personal growth
> it forces you to think about what really is important
> it takes aways some distraction that come from short term kicks and things that don’t really matter
> you can’t and won’t live on the autopilot anymore
> it makes you reconsider routines and make fresh choices
> it stimulates a more active life attitude
> it stimulates creativity and resourcefulness
> it makes you more grateful for what there is
Living with less gets you more to the chore and you will live life in a more alert way. It increases your feeling of aliveness. Do the things that suit you. Stop pleasing old habits, not-so-important-people, and the systems you are in.
Can you imagine the room, joy and freedom that you will gain.
Without all the fuzz you will get to know yourself better: your preferences, your drivers, your coping mechanisms, your secret and perhaps subtle addictions, what you find difficult, what you want to avoid etc. etc.
What does living with less mean?
Living with less means in the broad sense: to not focus on quantity but on quality. Of everything that you own, buy, do or give attention to LESS; but what you own, buy or do or focus on is just good! Or valuable, meaningful.
And you made a conscious choice to own, buy, do it or give it your attention.
- Not because everyone else is doing it.
- Not because it is expected from you.
- Or because you want to proof something to someone else.
- Not because it is something that happens automatically.
- Not because you have room in your calendar or closet. It is OK when it stays empty. Because there are so many interesting things to focus on. Hobbies, close relations, your health, contributing to society or helping you neighbors, personal growth. To just name a few. And it can stay empty, that is not a problem as well. (because in emptiness there can be a lot of depth, but this is expert-level ;))
Living with less means the same as Minimalism or a minimalist lifestyle.
No interpretation of Living with Less or Minimalism is the same. Everyone must find their own sauce that tastes well and does you good. And the application of the principles leads to different outcomes for everyone. But the principles are the same. And that is: choosing quality, making well-considered choices that suit you as a person and what you stand for.
The benefits of living with less
There can be books written about Living with Less, there actually are, but these are the main benefits of choosing to live with less stuff, less rat race, less everything.
Benefit #1 – more focus for you
You don’t do just everything anymore, just because it is there, because it is how it is, and ‘just because’..
Living with Less initially means saying goodbye to stuff. Cancelling things, selling stuff, throwing things away and breaking with habits. The space it creates – literally and figurally speaking – helps you to feel / discover / think about what is important to you. For whatever reason.
It might not sound like it, but Living with Less & Minimalism don’t have strict rules. You make up the rules! “Just fun” is a good reason to do something. And just don’t listen to people that tell you what exactly a Minimalist life looks like. Or how you do it ‘right’.
Benefit #2 – the focus is not on quantity but on meaning
Your life will have more meaning, when you start to choose for less (less but quality) in your life.
That means more satisfaction. And also, less annoyingly cluttered rooms. And less time spent on running your household. Less time spent on traveling to dates you don’t fancy anyway.
Creating meaning is one of the stable, long-term approaches to a happy, confident and contented life.
For most people it is in the end impossible to find long term meaning in a new and broadly admired design sofa. But if you can: why not?
In this blog JD shares 5 great tips to lead a meaningful life.
Benefit #3 – You don’t need to earn that much money or you can use it for important stuff
Advantage number 3 of Living with Less is a very practical but impactful one. When you are not automatically spending your money on stuff you don’t really care for, you keep so much money in the pocket. That means that you have to earn less income and that means more freedom of choice.
Or it means you can spend the money on more substantial stuff, now or in the future. Think about it: you can put the extra money in a savings account and when the day comes that you really want to do something that is important to you you have the money and don’t have to wait or earn extra like crazy. That is what I call luxurious and freedom.
We experienced this once. In 2014 when we were traveling in Indonesia for 3 weeks we decided we wanted to make a world trip of a year or longer. Thanks to our savings we were able to actually leave for this trip a year later.
Benefit #4 – Living with less is better for the planet and a gift to the younger generations
Last but not least; you do the planet, our planet a great favour by Living with Less. Can you imagine what a difference it makes when millions of people all around the world will start living with less?
Living with less really makes sense considering the history of humankind
At first glance, it may seem quite extreme: those people who so consciously choose less materialism, and choose minimalism and living with less. If we look back in time, it is not so extreme at all.
It wasn’t until the 1930s that the first households got their own refrigerators. The fact that we have mass amounts of cheap stuff from China in our homes is also from the last few years. Buy a cheap Halloween costume every year and throw it away? No way people did that 30 years ago.
Stuffing our homes with stuff, like it is a Christmas turkey
So the behaviour of collecting all that stuff, stuff we don’t really use, is a phenomenon that has emerged over the last 100 years or so. And that is nothing when you consider the amount of time human kind is already strolling this beautiful earth.
In the past all people lived nomadically. And they didn’t even want all the stuff. Because it made them less flexible and it was difficult to move around with all those bundles.
So to get to the point I started with, Living with Less, and minimalism are not that extreme. It is perhaps more natural than the way people live now. But that is another blog.
Are you interested in this topic, how we humans evolved into who we are now? JD will tell mind blowing things in this blog:
The rise of the homo economicus – a short history
4 Examples of Living with less
When you are inspired you can integrate Living with Less elements in your life. What that might look like is up to you. Just start doing and experiencing and you will find your way. My advice: think about ‘the Why’ first. What is it you hope or think Living with less will bring you?
To keep you started, and to give you some insight in the Minimalist sauce we like, are here some examples of Living with Less.
#1 Not owning but using – the sharing economy
Without the existence of the sharing economy we couldn’t live this Minimalist but rich lifestyle. (Online) social networks are a big part of how we live. For the houses we are staying, our work, our transport. Get a glimpse of how you could be a part of the sharing economy in this blog:
Being a part of the sharing economy: making friends all over Europe
#2 House sitting – a different approach to living or holidaying
It is not necessary to spend hundreds of dollars or euros to enjoy a special holiday. Neither is it necessary to have your own camping gear. Without going to the other side of the world, you can experience adventure. Even in your own country!
Say goodbye to the 16 square meter impersonal hotel room and welcome house sitting in your life!
8 Tempting benefits of house sitting
#3 High quality living with less money – this is how
Spending little money may be enforced by your situation.
But spending little money, or at least treating your money with care, is not misery for anyone. Because it represents so much more. The benefits and effects go so much deeper than how it appears at first glance! And yes; there will be some prejudices coming to you. But that’s fine; that helps you practice focusing your attention.
There are through living on a budget so many benefits that come into your life. It is guaranteed to do something positive for you. What that might be? Find out in this blog.
#4 We made an art out of Living with Less – what it is like to not have your own home (also not rented)
Living with Less; you can approach this concept the way you like. It could mean buying 2 pairs of shoes less per year. But it can also mean living nomadically as we do, with only 12 kg of stuff on your back (OK I will be honest; there is a place where we store a few boxes), and without owning or renting an own house.
Check out this blog to find out how we experience not having our own house. So that means not having our own kitchen, no own spice rack, no place to put my shoes, never sleeping on your own mattress. Yes, all that!
Living without your own home: this is what it is like
Inspiring books on living with less & minimalism
- A guide on Living with less influenced by the African diaspora
- Decluttering and organizing with Marie Kondo
More stuff on Living with less and Minimalism
- Great Minimalism documentary on Netflix by the Minimalists: Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (Netflix), 2016
- More to come on Living with less and Minimalism