All of the stuff that you acquired to make you ‘happy’ is likely what is keeping you unhappy.
If you have followed any of Gary Vaynerchuk’s work, it is pretty obvious that he is a proponent of getting rid of the unnecessary ‘stuff’ to make way for more happiness in your life. My question is if you are living just to support the things you think you need.
My Descent Into Minimalism
Half a decade ago my wife decided that being married and raising our daughter was just too hard and my life shifted hard. Up until that point, I had been, quite mistakenly, working on building the typical family dream of a house in the suburbs, two cars, and all that.
Now, with a new job that wasn’t paying that well yet, I found myself shedding virtually all of my old life and stuff. The house got sold, the extra car got sold, stuff went away and I landed in an affordable apartment, driving Leif the Adventure Van.
While I had lost most of all of the weight of my previous life, what I found in the process was a whole lot of freedom and even happiness, even as I stood in what initially looked like the ruins of my life.
Having Stuff Is A Trap
Having stuff is a trap, plain and simple.
The more stuff you have, the more you have to work to pay for and maintain all of it, and that turns into a vicious cycle that has the potential to make your life miserable. I define freedom as being able to do what you want when you want to do it. That is really hard to achieve when you have thousands of dollars a month going out every month for payments on things.
The problem is that you buy things to make you happy, or impress people, and you wind up working more and stressing more to pay for it. To make matters worse, often times we turn to buying more stuff to make us feel better about having to work so hard to maintain the stuff we already have.
“Nobody gives a f*ck. And that goes to clothes, and that goes to your photo on you on a boat.”Gary Vaynerchuk
What Stuff Do You Really Need?
Obviously, you need some stuff. The question is what stuff do you really need?
If you are in a position where you are sick of the stress of working too much to maintain the stuff you have, you need to have a serious sit down with yourself and decide what you really need. Do you really need a big house, fancy cars, expensive toys, and all of that?
How much of that do you have because you were told you need it, or felt like you had to have it to maintain appearances, or because it was what you are ‘supposed to have’?
In my case it was pretty easy. I went from a 4000 square foot suburban house to a 900 square foot apartment. Almost everything went away, but that turned out to be a good thing, I was free of a lot of obligations.
What I Kept Was What Really Mattered
What I learned in ‘The Great Downsizing’ as I refer to it, was that not that much really mattered to me. While the big house was nice, the payment was a source of stress, and maintaining it took a lot of work. My apartment was (mostly) sufficient.
All the extraneous stuff that had been stuffed in the garage and the attic was gone, and I was down to a few boxes of sentimental stuff, my office, my adventure gear, and enough cookware to get by. What I found out was that was just fine, that other stuff never got used anyway.
The Challenge For You To Take
Starting today start looking at what can you get rid of in your life that you really don’t need. My suggestion is to start with anything with a payment. Cars are easy, either get rid of ones you really don’t need, or trade them in on ones without a payment.
Downsizing your house to something more modest is a big jump, but if you can suddenly have an extra $2,000 a month magical things can happen.
The easy questions are “Why do I have this?” and “Do I really use this?”. You are likely to find a lot of stuff that you are keeping for all the wrong reasons. If you are wavering on if you get rid of it, consider how your life will feel if you don’t have to pay for, store, and maintain it.
Let Me Know What You Think
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I truly believe that minimizing our lives is the key to happiness. I’d love to hear what you think about minimizing your life and any thoughts you have about it. Feel free to DM me on Twitter with your comments.