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How Much Stuff Do You Really Need?

Sep 8th, 2020 • Gayle E.

Not much.

It’s that simple. We as human beings don’t need much to survive: water, food, shelter and love.

We don’t really need fancy cars and huge homes, boats and electronics, designer clothes and watches and we certainly don’t need most of the items we acquire. Nothing has become more apparent in our current situation. A global crisis really helps clarify what’s important in life.

So, if we don’t need much, why do so many of us have so much? 

Psychology studies explain some of the reasons we buy and hold on to unnecessary things. 

Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Status. Many luxury items convey status and say to the world, “I’ve arrived!” Paying close attention to marketing campaigns will prove it’s never about the item, but the lifestyle associated with it. Marketers tout a certain lifestyle, making it seem as though buying a certain product or service will get us there. 
  • Self-worth. Another common reason to buy is to help with insecurities; thinking our material things are a part of who we are or will become part of our identity. Having more things can make us feel more valued.
  • Sentimental reasons. We tend to assign intrinsic value to material things, associating them with loving memories but end up keeping things stored in boxes or storage containers, never looking at them. The sentimentality tends to grow with time, exacerbating the problem. It’s important to remember that our memories are inside of us, not our possessions.
  • Security. Surrounding ourselves with things can convey a feeling of security. 

Buying and holding onto things costs us much more than the initial purchase price. It takes time to care for belongings, money to maintain and insure, the emotional toll of worrying about clutter and most notably, it takes time away from the most important things in life. 

There are also real scientific benefits to reducing the clutter in your life! You’ll sleep better and be able to focus and concentrate for longer. Your decision making skills will improve and you’ll find yourself in a much calmer and clearer state. Additionally, you’ll have more time to do what you love, you’ll save money and your life will be simpler.

Minimalism and decluttering are rising trends for good reasons. There are financial, emotional and mental benefits to simplifying your belongings and getting rid of unneeded things. 

Imagine a life with less stuff: Less work, less money, less stress and more peace. Show yourself some self-love and make your life better by parting with what you don’t need. 

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