I’ve been around the world teaching minimalism and speaking about the benefits of owning less for over a decade now. And I’ve seen repeatedly, more times than I can recall, that there is an almost magical effect when people right-size the quantity of their possessions.
In the process, people are changed in positive ways. Owning less creates an opportunity to live more. At its best, minimalism is about transforming your home so you can transform your life.
People often have a misperception that minimalism is a style of home, usually a white boxy house with almost nothing in it.
Another misperception people have is that minimalism is a kind of extremism—that they’ll have to get rid of everything and live in a tiny home or wander the world living out of a backpack.
People are also sometimes confused about the difference between minimalism and tidying up. There’s nothing wrong with tidying up, it just doesn’t achieve the objective of a minimized home. A minimized home is fundamentally purposeful. It’s not just about freedom from clutter; it’s about freedom for a better life. Just because a room is tidy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s uncluttered or serves its purpose.
Minimalism is simply the intentional promotion of things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them. Minimizing is actually optimizing—reducing the number of your possessions until you get to the best possible level for you and your family. I often tell people it’s a makeover you can do on your own just by getting rid of stuff.
That is the message in my new book, The Minimalist Home. If you are dissatisfied with your living space, the wonderful news is that you can create the atmosphere you want in your home with what you already have. You don’t need to move or be selected for a home renovation reality show. You can find a new home (and life) by simply removing the clutter you don’t need.
A minimized home is a better place to come home to.
Without all the clutter, you’ll find that your home is more relaxing and less stressful. With fewer things competing for your attention, you’ll appreciate more and make better use of what you have.
You’ll be able to focus more on the people and activities in the home that bring you joy. I know some people fear that minimizing their home will make it feel cold and impersonal, but I assure you, through minimizing, you’ll feel more at home than ever. It will be a place you anticipate returning to at the end of every day or relaxing in for a weekend.
A minimized home is also a better place to go out from.
After you minimize, you’ll be buying less stuff and spending less on repairs and maintenance, leaving you with more cash in your bank account—what I call a “minimalism dividend.”
Even more importantly, because you’ll be spending less time and energy cleaning, organizing, and taking care of your possessions, you’ll have more time and energy left over for dreaming and planning for the future. With these extra resources, you’ll be better prepared to go out into the world, whether it’s for a day’s work, an evening’s entertainment, or a life-changing adventure.
Both benefits of home minimalism—the coming home to and the going out from—are important, but it’s the second one that gets me more excited. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take significance over stuff every time. I want to contribute more than consume.
By giving your home a minimalist makeover, you can set a new course toward fulfilling your purpose and potential in life. That’s not hype, it’s just the truth. I’ve seen it play out countless times in peoples’ lives. You can give yourself the dream home you’ve always wanted—because you’ve already got it. It’s just hidden underneath all your stuff.
Joshua Becker is the founder and editor of Becoming Minimalist, a website and blog that inspires more than one million readers each month to find more fulfillment in life by owning less. Joshua’s latest book, “The Minimalist Home,” provides a practical, room-by-room guide for a decluttered house and a refocused life.