I recently watched a documentary on Netflix on Minimalism and another one titled, “Living on a Dollar.” Together, these two shows sparked a revelation in my life: we as people consume so much unneeded stuff.
I mean, sure, I’ve had this thought before. But, there was something about looking around my house after watching these shows that opened my eyes to a new way of thinking.
Here are a few things I picked up:
- It’s harder to get rid of something than it is to not buy it in the first place.
- Clutter is a distraction. It prevents you from being what God wants you to be.
- Having so much stuff gives you an overwhelming feeling which can lead to depression.
- Less clutter changes the tone of your house. Getting rid of clutter leads to a more peaceful home and is less distracting.
- We could save so much money by only purchasing what we REALLY need.
I found it especially interesting when they spoke about how the media contributes to our excessive buying habits.
They have brainwashed consumers into needing to “keep up with the Jones’s.” Therefore, buying things we don’t need but want just because we want to fit in.
Have you ever noticed how our clothing doesn’t last as long as it has in previous generations? The over-all quality of a lot of stuff we buy isn’t what it used to be. Clothing companies can mass-produce garments for super cheap and therefore sell it to us at a low enough price that we feel okay with just throwing it away and buying new. In a world where we are no-longer taught to repair or mend things when they are broken we are constantly replacing items. Clothing used to be made sturdier and last longer. It may have costed a tad more. But, we were willing to spend the extra money to have it last longer and thus, buy less. We also had Home Economics class, grandmas or moms to teach us how to sew and repair our clothes when they became worn. According to a recent survey, only 65% of people can sew on a button now days!
And then, there’s the misconception of “Retail Therapy.” This is the idea that buying something will make you feel better. The truth is, shopping can in fact, have the opposite effect. You may get an initial “high” during the shopping. Unfortunately, after the fact, you will go back to feeling empty and still searching for something to make you happy. And, you will be stuck with either buyers remorse or a house full of stuff you really don’t need. It’s become such a popular thing, we even joke about it!
A few months back, my son was learning about “needs” in regards to survival in school. I overheard him talking to my daughter one day when she said she “needed an ice-cream cone.” He said, “Ladybug, do you NEED an ice-cream cone to survive? Or, do you just WANT one?” To which she replied, “Yes! I really DO NEED ice-cream because I will just die if I don’t have some chocolate!” At least one of them understands the concept! haha
This is the same daughter who is watching The Little Mermaid as I type this and Ariel is singing, “I want more.” Ladybug says, “Ariel wants more so she can be super awesome!” Not just awesome, but SUPER awesome! haha I think I have some work to do with that girl!
I’ve really tried to have that mentality while I shop lately and it’s made a surprisingly big difference in my consumerism. We used to go to the thrift store almost weekly just to “look around.” I found myself falling into the trap of, “it’s so cheap, why not!?!?!”
I have been hauling loads and loads of stuff to different donation spots on the island. But, with the constant shopping, I wasn’t seeing a big difference in the atmosphere of our home because we weren’t actually decluttering. We were replacing.
I think the hardest thing for me to get rid of in my house has been kid toys and home decorations. They are both areas that may not be used now, but could possibly be used SOME DAY.
But, with my attempt to live more minimally, I have had to change that mindset and realize that, if I’m not using it NOW, I don’t probably need it. I have gotten rid of SO MANY things. And, to be honest, I don’t remember even what half of it was. I don’t even miss it. Obviously, they weren’t “needs” but rather “wants” when I bought those items.
I want to raise my kids to not have a love for “stuff.” I want to try to teach them to not fall into the trap most of us have…to want to buy buy buy!
I want them to appreciate having less and enjoying it more!
Our kids are watching us…I need to be an example to them about not overdoing it and I need to do better about only buying what we need.
I want them to live in that simplicity.
I want them to have that enjoyment of being able to focus on their family and DOING things they enjoy rather than having their mind clouded with so much STUFF!
It’s a work in progress but I can already feel the changes for the good!
Do you live minimally? Do you have any tips for me and my followers? I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below!