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Maybe the Answer is Owning Less

The following post is from Joshua of Becoming Minimalist: Maybe the Answer is Owning Less

“Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you, and in this materialistic age a great many of us are possessed by our possessions.” – Peace Pilgrim

Four years ago, we sold, donated, or discarded over 60% of our possessions. We removed clothes, furniture, decorations, cookware, tools, books, toys, plus anything else we could find in our home that was not immediately useful or beautiful.

At the time, the idea of owning fewer possessions was completely foreign to us. It was unexpected, new, and counter-cultural. Nobody had ever told us living with fewer possessions was an option for life… much less a better alternative to the endless pursuit of more and more possessions.

Looking back, while I would have never admitted with my words that I was seeking joy in possessions, I had become more influenced by the estimated 5,000 advertisements we see every day than I would like to admit. As a result, I worked long hours to earn enough money to buy newer technology, trendier clothes, nicer toys, faster cars, and bigger houses. I didn’t really believe the purpose of life was to chase possessions, but my calendar and checkbook sure seemed to declare that truth.

Choosing to intentionally live with fewer possessions was a decision that sounded surprisingly attractive. It was a decision that found its roots in our finances, our family, and our faith. We had grown weary of living paycheck to paycheck, weary of trading time with our kids to tend to our possessions, and weary of pursuing worldly gain rather than lasting purposes. Owning less offered an escape from the clutter in our homes and lives. But more than that, it offered the very ideals our hearts most desperately desired.

Since choosing to live with less, we have experienced numerous unforeseen benefits. We have more time, energy, freedom, and money to pursue what is most important to us. Owning less means less cleaning, less burden, less anxiety, and less stress each and every day.

Over the years, I have come to believe and understand minimalism, the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it, is a lifestyle that appeals to the heart and resonates with the soul. Owning less is an invitation that is appreciated, desired, and often accepted when offered. And it may be just the answer to a better life you’ve been searching for all along.

In what practical ways would owning less benefit your life, your home, and your family?

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.