7 Surprising Areas Where You'll Be Happier With Less

The following post is from Joshua of Becoming Minimalist:

source: mandyxclear

From the moment we’re born, we’re told to pursue more and more. Advertisements scream to us on a daily basis from every television, radio, newspaper, magazine, billboard, and website that more is better. As a result, we work long hours to earn the money to purchase the biggest homes, fanciest cars, trendiest fashions, most popular toys, and coolest technologies. But what if they are all wrong? What if happiness can’t be bought at a department store?

What if more isn’t always better?

What if, in reality, there is actually more joy in less? That truth would change everything! It would change the way we spend our hours, our energy, and our money. It would change the very foundation of our lives… and free us up to pursue the things in life that we are most passionate about. It would be a freeing and life-giving realization.

To begin the process, consider these 7 surprising areas in your home where you’ll be happier with less:

1. Clothes.

According to statistics, we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. That means that many of us have closets full of clothes that we no longer like or no longer fit us correctly. They are just taking up space. The simple exercise of going through your closet and removing unused clothes leaves your closet lighter, your morning’s less stressful, and your wardrobe full of things you love.

2. Decorations.

Many of the decorations in our homes hold no personal value to our lives. They just simply happened to match the color of the carpet or the furniture. Unfortunately, they are distracting you and your guests from the decorations in your home that share your story and highlight your values. Take a moment to walk through your home with a discerning eye. Leave only the decorations that are the most meaningful and the most beautiful. And your home will begin to share your story in a beautiful way.

3. Toys.

Too often, we fall into the line of thinking that says more is better… and so do our kids. We begin to purchase and collect far too many toys for our children. As a result, our children have no need to learn how to be creative, helpful, careful, or sharing. Fewer toys will benefit your kids in numerous ways. It would be a good idea to involve your children in the process of trimming down their toy supply… just don’t tell them you got the idea from me.

4. Cooking Utensils.

There never seems to be enough storage space in our kitchens. Yet most of our grandmothers cooked far more often, far more elaborately, and far better than many of us today… in much smaller kitchens. The truth is that when it comes to cooking, simple is almost always better. We need far less cooking utensils than we currently own. As a result, our drawers, cabinets, and countertops can be far better organized and useful if we simply owned less. If you need help knowing what to keep, check out this article from the New York Times: A No Frills Kitchen Still Cooks.

5.  Televisions.

According to Nielsen, the average person watches 4 hours, 35 minutes of television each day. And the average American home now has more television sets than people. That threshold was crossed within the past two years. There are 2.73 TV sets in the typical home and 2.55 people. In the average American home, a television set is turned on for more than a third of the day — 8 hours, 14 minutes to be exact. We are literally sitting on the couch while life passes us by. Own less televisions. As a result, you will watch less. And when you do, you will be more apt to do it together as a family.

6. Sentimental Belongings.

Many people I know have boxes of sentimental items in the basement or the attic. They have boxes dedicated to their wedding, their parents, or their childhood memories. In each case, the box of items – which is kept to help preserve our memories – serves little purpose as it remains unopened in storage. A far better approach is to open the box, carefully select the 2-3 items that best represent the person or moment in time, and display them proudly around your house. Allow them to remind you daily of the most influential people/moments of your life. In that way, you will receive far more joy on a daily basis than from leaving them boxed up in your basement.

7. Your House.

Consider for just a moment the benefits of owning a smaller home. Everything else being equal, a smaller home means less expense, less upkeep, less environmental impact, less temptation to accumulate, more free time, more family interactions, and easier to sell. A smaller home may actually result in more joy and happiness than a larger home. Go figure. My real estate agent never mentioned that…

Discovering the truth that there is more joy in less than can be found in pursuing more is a life-changing realization. Try putting 1-2 of the areas listed above to the test. You just may be surprised to discover a brand new way to live your life.

Where have you experienced the freedom that comes from decluttering?

Joshua Becker inspires and encourages others to live with less on his blog, Becoming Minimalist. He has also authored two e-books, Simplify and Inside-Out Simplicity. But more importantly, he loves his wife and two small children.