How (and Why) Owning Less Will Make You Happier

by | Sep 8, 2013 | Minimalism | 6 comments

How Owning Less Makes You HappierNote: If you prefer to just cut to the chase, head straight to my TEDx talk. But if you’re partial to a little back story, read on.

What I’ve discovered is that it’s the journeys we embark upon unwittingly that often have the most impact.

Also, you can usually only connect the dots in retrospect.

In April of 2007 I moved my folks into an old age home. I can’t say it was against their will exactly, because the truth is they didn’t know what I’d done until it was too late. But if we’re going spilt hairs I guess ‘tricked’ is closer to the truth.

It’s a long story that deserves airing someday (if for no other reason than to shed some light on my worryingly callous approach to family). For now though, the condensed version will have to suffice.

As it turned out relocating their stubborn asses was only half the problem. Once I had them safely ensconced in their new digs I then faced the mammoth task of cleaning out their house. By myself.

They had a lot of stuff, ’nuff said.

In July of 2008 Sporty and I had the talk. The one where I explained how effortless life would be if we sold everything and rented a furnished apartment instead. I’ve written and spoken about this event on a number of occasions, because although we didn’t cotton onto it at the time, it turned out to be the beginning of our minimalist journey.

Separate to all of this I joined Toastmasters in 2012 to up my confidence levels and hone the art of small talk, and ended up speaking at TEDx Cape Town about the benefits of downsizing a little over a year later. Go figure.

But while my TEDx talk does a fairly good job of explaining how (and why) owning less stuff will make you happier, it’s also just the tip of the iceberg. The positive benefits of living a pared down lifestyle are more far-reaching than I could ever hope to tell you in in just 12 minutes.

It’s a good start though.



  1. Evelyn Krieger

    I absolutely loved your talk. It contains so much (simple) truth and wisdom which we all must know deep down. We grow up wanting more and more, collecting, acquiring–trying to win. The message surrounding us is: ‘the more, the better.’ In the last few years, I’ve consciously tried to spend my money on making memories. I’d rather use my hard-earned money to travel, visit family, and do fun things with my children.
    The clutter is what’s killing me, right now! So, I’m going to try your challenge and get rid of one thing a day.
    That’s a good goal for a recovering perfectionist, like me.

    • Ang

      Hey Evelyn…I’m so pleased my talk resonated with you. You’ll be amazed how much more free time you have as you start to really declutter your life. Good luck with the challenge. Let me know how it goes. On Twitter I encourage people to use #30DayDeclutterChallenge. 🙂

  2. Becca Ribbing

    I can’t tell you how much I love this talk! It is so inspiring and motivating.

    • Ang

      Hi Becca…yay that’s so exciting to hear! Thanks for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed it! 🙂

  3. Terri

    We recently had some “wonderful” homeowner issues and joked about doing this. Such a scary undertaking in this more, more, more world. I like the 1 item a day idea though and am going to try it. I’m also going to encourage my husband to do it too. I think just having less stuff around will be helpful. Thanks 🙂

    • Ang

      Hi Terri. Thanks for stopping by! Let me know how the “one thing day” works out for you. Another trick is the “one in, one out” policy. If you buy something new, something has to go. Caveat: it must be of equal value. So you can’t buy a new car and throw out a teaspoon! 😉


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

get in touch with us

Sign up for our newsletter!

Join our mailing list and we'll send you a FREE copy of our eBook Eating a Plant-based Diet for Beginners (and Curious Omnivores). It's even got hamsters on the cover.

You have Successfully Subscribed!