Why less is more, you ask? There is no guarantee owning more adds to our joy or happiness. The idea of priding ourselves in the accumulation of possessions is outdated. We know that it definitely increases our worries and stress levels. We need to first embrace the mindset by understanding its very core. We are the children of consumerism; we have been brought up in a world that projected that the more, the merrier. Of course, it does apply in some cases, but if we talk about the way of life and how we should lead it, the “less is more” approach hits it out of the park. We need more frames of reference to understand that. Less is more: an approach that suggests that producing or owning anything in bulk isn’t always the best way. There are more cons to it than benefits.
Understanding Why Less is More Using the 80/20 Rule
Using less is the opposite of everything we have been told via advertisements, the media, and society. Thankfully, everyone finally realizes the value it holds. Big companies that run our lives with their offerings are sensing that with the lack of time, no one, anymore, has the time or attention span to sit through a three-hour movie or a two-minute advertisement, or a 15-minute tutorial. Have you noticed how, after the social media boom, videos, movies, and shows have a shorter time frame? After all, who has the time to go through an hour of watching Martha Stewart cook chicken pot pie when the same recipe can be given out along with the directions and ingredients in a 30-second video?
As these companies realize how to capture their consumer’s attention in a limited span, so are we as individuals. We realize that most of the possessions we own don’t actually add any value to our lives. If we look at it using the 80/20 rule, we understand how 80% of the joy or happiness we experience in life comes from 20% of the things we own. Do you have a favorite chair, mug, or clothing you like? All the others are just secondary. If given a choice, you will always pick them first over the others. So, automatically, the rest of the things become surplus. What is the point of having six mugs when you just use one?
So you see, we all need the 80/20 rule to filter out the unnecessary things we hold onto for no apparent reason. The same can be said about the number of clothes, shoes, accessories, and furniture you own. If you think that their absence won’t be missed, they are just things taking up space and nothing more. This should be enough reason to discard them and clear up the clutter.
10 Reasons Why a “Less Is More” Approach Is Beneficial
Now below are more reasons for you to believe in the idea of less and becoming happier and stress-free. Take a look!
1. You Reassess the Meaning of Life
One of the biggest reasons why this approach to viewing things works so well is because it offers us a chance to see things differently. It lets us reconsider the meaning of life, helps us find a purpose, and choose a direction to follow. The reason you need to adopt this is that when you do so, you begin to realize that owning more doesn’t resonate with more happiness. There is more to life than pursuing more of everything. When you learn that more things aren’t going to make you happier, you stop giving in to the whole idea of consumerism. Simultaneously, we also realize that acquiring more just adds to our problems and worries. We always have to carry the burden of those worries and stresses with us everywhere we go. It drains our energies, renders our time useless, and robs us of our money.
Imagine you live in a big mansion full of furniture, décor, art, kitchenware, appliances, and more. If we just look at one aspect of it–cleaning, we realize how much more time, money, and labor goes into its care and maintenance. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting you give up your mansion to move into a small apartment of 50-square feet, but emptying it of things that just cramp space and are of no use. Do you really need that three-seater sofa in your bedroom when you just go in there to sleep and use the washroom? If you are out all day, there is no point in keeping it for the sake of making the most of the available space. When you have more space, you feel freer and less cluttered–both in your head and your room.
Moreover, you realize that it isn’t just your home that needs decluttering, but also your mind. What you need is a new sense of direction and focus. Making unnecessary purchases often suggests that you lack intention as well as a purpose in life. The minimalism approach helps you find a more goal-oriented direction and purpose in life.
2. You Are No Longer Confused
If we talk from a decluttering point of view, you must have had those days when you had to go through every drawer in your room just to find the matching sock to the one you are holding in your hand. Yes, been there and done that! Did that search not make you mad? Did it not make you late? And you promised yourself that when you come back home, you will get rid of every useless thing in your closet and drawer. But that day never came, did it? Even if it did and you cleaned up, you got new stuff later to replace what you got rid of. So, basically, it’s the same situation all over again.
This is another reason why less is better. When you have fewer items, things rarely get misplaced or lost. When you have fewer things to go through, it saves you both time and confusion. Less stuff also takes less space. Having fewer possessions also makes it easier to focus on things that are more important to you. Instead of having a lot of things that you have to take care of, you have the time and the freedom to pursue other interests.
3. Less Junk Means a More Focused Mind
It is very easy in today’s world to chase after the whim and fad. You are driven by those powerful marketing ads that hit right where they should and end up with another thing you didn’t need. The biggest reason to become a minimalist by heart is so that you can differentiate between the things you need and the things you want. Thankfully, when you try to adopt the culture of less is more, you start to go after things you really need rather than the things you want.
Your focus is redirected to achieving things you need and away from the things that aren’t necessary. When you have fewer things on your mind to worry about, you begin with a thorough research process. You don’t get carried away with emotions but rather evaluate the costs and expected marginal return. You only buy what is of the best quality and stop wasting your money and time on things with little to no value.
4. More Joy and Less Stress
When you have less, you worry less too. Fewer possessions in life mean less work and maintenance. We often pile our closets, rooms, and homes with pointless stuff. Instead of discarding it in its due time, we just keep on adding to that pile and hiding some of it in the attic in closed cartons for some later day use. However, that later rarely comes and the extra things just keep sitting for years without offering you any benefit. If you are a parent, you must have kept your child’s clothes, toys, or shoes stored up, but for what use? Your child won’t be needing those anymore. So why add to the amount of storage in your shed, garage, or attic? When the time comes to clean the garage, attic or storage shed, it will only make you stressed, and you will keep avoiding it.
However, when you discard things on a timely basis and keep fewer possessions, your stress levels reduce. You will be done with the cleaning and sorting in no time when you have fewer things to go through, leaving you with more free time on your hands to do the things you actually want to be doing. You can spend the same time doing things you actually enjoy doing and the things that bring you joy. Things that you wouldn’t do otherwise because you are always taking care of the things around the house.
5. Working Smart Rather Than Hard
Did you ever wish for more hours during the day because you can’t seem to notice where they go? This means you obviously have too much to worry about and fewer things to work on. However, working hard doesn’t guarantee success. Working smart does! We tend to measure our success by how much time we have invested in doing something rather than by how much has been accomplished.
With a “less is more” approach, we can focus on the work that needs to be done rather than doing one thing after the other mindlessly. Working less but smart also makes us realize that it is okay to fall behind as long as the most important things get done. It eliminates the guilt that comes with doing less as we begin to view the importance of doing things differently. Our focus shifts from doing more to working less but smart.
6. Less Planning
Less planning equates to more doing. Although, to-do lists are great by all means; however, when we have so many things to organize and do, we often get caught up in planning excessively. If you think about it, planning excessively doesn’t get things done. Doing things get things done. Avoid planning so far ahead instead, make plans for the day only. Short-term planning is a better way of getting things done as we tend to get carried away or overwhelmed when we have more than ten pointers on to-do lists. Divide your focus between a few tasks only so that you can give each one the amount of thinking and focus it deserves.
When left with a plethora of choices, our decision-making ability also suffers. Conversely, when there is less to stress about, we become more confident about the things we want to do and the things we should do.
7. Healthier Spending Habits
Conscious living leads to conscious buying. When we buy things that we need, we build healthier spending habits. Wanting less validates the futility of just-in-case items. It also eliminates our obsession with staying prepared all the time. We learn to let go a little and appreciate the things that we have rather than madly going after the things we don’t have. When we adopt such an approach, it becomes easier to overlook even the most appealing of clutter and hold back on all those purchases without any value.
8. Less Indulgence in Impulsive Buying
Advertisements have us believing that to lead a successful life, we need the latest and greatest of everything. Own a big TV, get the fastest speed connection, the biggest house, the largest bed, the most expensive paintings, and whatnot. However, when we adopt a less is more mindset, we begin to realize that none of that matters. A smaller TV works just fine, a slower connection also opens up the same content, a smaller house offers the same comfort level, a smaller bed still houses two people and cheaper paintings or wall art also gets the same appreciation. So what realty is the point of spending so much on things with more or less the same value?
When we start thinking in such a manner, we reduce the amount of impulsive buying. We are no longer fascinated or excited about sales, discounts or billboard ads that remind is now is the time to buy the best. We stop buying when told to buy but rather buy when we are ready to buy.
9. Less Complaining
When you adopt the less is more approach, you find less to complain about in life. Not only do you realize that there is no point in complaining, but you also look for means to fix the problem. The best thing about such an approach is that it keeps your mind free of unwanted negativity. When you have less, you have little to complain about. When you have little to complain about, you view things from a different perspective and work hard to amend the things that need fixing.
On the other hand, when your mind is too occupied, you fail to see the beauty in things, and often find yourself complaining and unhappy in general. It also allows us to comprehend that not everything in life goes according to plan and that complaining about things is never the solution. When you have fewer things to worry about, everything that needs fixing actually gets fixed in its due time. Moreover, when we complain less and replace the negativity with something as positive as encouragement, we begin to accept things as they are.
10. Less Talking
Less talking means more listening. When you stop unnecessary chatter, you allow yourself the opportunity to become a good listener. In a world ridden by depression, suicide, and addiction, listening has become a great asset. It is easily the greatest gift you can give to someone. Conversely, when you keep talking and don’t allow the other person to share their thoughts and views, not only are you depriving them of the right to expression but also preventing new information to reach you.
With the less is more approach, you begin to see and value the importance of others’ opinions and can contribute your views and advice without judgment.
What Are the Benefits of the “Less is More” Approach?
Consider this a concise version of all the points I missed mentioning above but are still worth reading. Less is More has the following benefits.
- Financial freedom: When you spend less on stuff, you increase your savings and gain financial freedom.
- Easy Maintenance: A less-stuffed space is easier to clean and maintain.
- Mental Clarity: When you spend less, you gain more mental clarity. You no longer feel attached to material possessions.
- Sets a Good Example: Learning to spend money wisely and on things that are a basic need only sets a good example for future generations.