In today’s world, it often seems like materialism surrounds us. Most of us already have so many things that we don’t really need, and we’re adding to our collections all the time. I think there’s a lot to be said for simplicity, though—cleaning out clutter, only keeping things you know you’ll use, and prioritizing the things in life that matter more than material wealth. Here are five habits to get you started.
Constantly Evaluate Your Needs
A big reason things start to pile up around our houses is that we tend to keep things even when we’ve stopped needing them. Clothes you wore five years ago and haven’t touched since then probably don’t need to be in your closet anymore, but maybe you’ve just never gotten around to sorting through everything. To prevent possessions from building up until you need a massive purge, try to plan a time each year to sell or donate the things you no longer use.
Don’t Shop for Fun
Viewing shopping as a fun way to kill time on the weekend will sabotage your efforts to live simply, because it encourages you to make impulse purchases you’ll likely regret later. Instead, only hit the stores when you have a specific purpose in mind. Make a list of what you need and don’t let yourself get distracted by other things.
Turn Off the Television
Our culture constantly bombards us with messages about needing more, and this is evident in few places more than television commercials. Advertisers and marketers are good at what they do, and they incorporate strategies to influence your subconscious, so even if you think you’re immune from commercials, they’re probably still affecting you. Limit television as much as you can and invest that time in pursuing a hobby you love instead.
Spend Time Outdoors
One of the best things about nature is that it’s free and you don’t need much to enjoy it. A pair of hiking shoes and a water bottle can get you to the top of a mountain, and the experience is well worth it. The outdoors is the perfect place to de-stress and get some perspective on life.
Choose Quality Over Quantity
Especially in America, we’re trained to want more of everything—the full buffet instead of the artfully prepared smaller dishes. Training yourself to be happy with less means that you can be more selective when you do choose to own something.
Changing your perspective to prioritize experiences and relationships over possessions will allow you to live more deeply and get to know who you are instead of just what you like. Get back to basics—you won't miss the clutter.