If you’re like me and most Americans, you own way too much stuff. I have items scattered throughout my living space. There are piles of papers in random places and shelves packed with who knows what. In my basement, I have two full pallets of storage.
Want to hear something more embarrassing? It used to be worse. But over the years I managed to downsize during moves. And I learned something really surprising…
Getting rid of stuff helps your finances
This is one of the benefits of practicing minimalism, which is a simple philosophy. Minimalism takes the phrase “less is more” and applies it to different areas of life.
In this post, I’ll show you the financial benefits of having less stuff.
I didn’t do anything extreme, like move into a tiny house or live in my car. I just got rid of things I didn’t need. And in turn that changed my mindset about spending money.
Here’s what minimalism can do for your finances:
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1. You buy less stuff
When you start getting rid of stuff, you want to buy less stuff. Since you’re trying to accomplish a goal, you’re opposed to anything that hinders the goal.
If you start getting rid of your clothes, you’ll resist buying new ones when you’re out shopping. Once you begin donating your books, you won’t want to buy anymore.
When you desire to own less stuff, you want to stop buying new things.
2. Less maintenance saves money
Less stuff means you have less stuff to take care of. Let’s say you have two cars and three ATVs. Not only do you make payments on them, but you also have to fix them every time they break. If you go down to one car, you only have to spend money repairing one vehicle.
Doing less maintenance also saves tremendous amounts of time. The less landscaping you have, the less upkeep you have to perform. The fewer clothes and dishes you have, the less cleaning you have to do.
3. Belongings last longer
Once you start getting rid of your belongings, you begin to value the items you keep. If you only have one computer, you’ll make an effort to make it last. You’ll clean it and make sure it’s properly updated so it lasts for a long time.
When you have many belongings, you can neglect them. I do this all the time. If all of my kitchen knives are in the sink I think, “I don’t want to wash all of those.” Even though those knives were expensive. And they would last a lot longer if I dried them immediately.
When you have few items, you give more attention to those items.
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4. You make money by selling
This is the most immediate way to make money from downsizing. There are a ton of ways to sell your belongings. The Facebook marketplace is very popular these days. And don’t forget the classics: eBay and craigslist.
Try downloading some apps where you can list things for sale. Check out some pawn shops (keep in mind they can be cheap). And of course, you can always do a yard sale.
5. You buy smarter
Earlier I mentioned that you buy less stuff when you get rid of your belongings. But you also buy smarter. If you’re trying to own fewer items, you end up buying multi-purpose items.
Maybe your cleaning closet is full of sprays and cleaners for every surface under the sun. Then next time you need a cleaner, you’ll go for the multi-purpose one. Over the months your closet will shrink in size. And you won’t waste money on 15 different carpet cleaners.
Less stuff makes big changes
Your finances might not look different right away, but give it some time. When you start emptying your house, you’ll want to keep it that way. Items that usually last 6 months end up lasting a year. Instead of bringing home five shopping bags, you only bring home two.
Practice minimalism and watch your spending go down.