The Less You Own, the More You Have


It’s often the journeys we embark upon unwittingly that are most rewarding. For Sporty and I, minimalism was a trip we never saw coming, but damn we’ve enjoyed the ride so far.

In the 16 years we’ve been together we’ve lived in more than 20 different places, yet it only occurred to us in 2008 that selling our stuff and renting furnished would be
much easier and more cost-effective.

The sense of freedom and liberation we felt after selling everything was incredible.

Nowadays our belongings fit into a large suitcase and a couple of laptop bags. We do own a few small appliances that our landlord didn’t provide, but for us those things are consumables.

For now we’re location-locked due to our work commitments, but knowing that we’re ready to travel at a moment’s notice is a really good feeling.

We have absolutely no debt, no car payments, no mortgages, no nothing. What we do have is a sizeable investment and nest egg, both of which are growing by the month.

All this came about as a result of downsizing. Back when we were still in ‘consumer’ mode we had a mountain of debt, two cars we were paying off and no savings whatsoever. Mindfulness wasn’t even on the radar.

Stuff makes life unnecessarily complicated.

A bigger house just means more to clean, more to maintain and more to fix when things go wrong. Downsizing so dramatically eliminated the distractions and allowed us to focus on Quadrant 2 —important, but not urgent.

The less you own, the more you have. More freedom, more adventure, more of the good stuff.

In a study titled Affective Forecasting, professors at Harvard University concluded that people have the tendency to overestimate how long something will keep them happy.

According to their findings, the time it takes for that dream-come-true car to turn into just another noose around your neck is always a lot shorter than you imagine. As little as six months or less it turns out.

Positive Psychology expert, Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, says this is because when we reach a goal we’ve been striving towards we experience a spike in our happiness levels, but before long we’re back where we started. Except now we’re also disappointed, because we really believed that car would make us happy.

The cool thing is that our brains don’t adapt nearly as successfully to experiences, so while physical things may wear out their welcome, experiences can provide increasing benefits over time.

A memorable trip gets better the more we talk about it and in fact, even the less than stellar adventures produce stories that grow in value as the years pass.

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  1. Minimalism is something that, truth be told, I’ve been petrified of actually exploring. I love that you mention how “less than stellar adventures” can often, in retrospect, still make pretty fantastic memories . . . it all adds to that richness of experience that all the *things* in the world can’t give you.

    Awesome post for #TSE30DC 🙂 – very inspirational

    1. I’m hoping this post might have made you slightly less petrified?! Minimalism is one of those weird things, it only seems daunting from the outside. Once you take the leap it’s incredibly liberating. Thanks for stopping by Kristina! Let me know how it goes for you. 😉

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