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Three Steps to Wanting Less

The following post is from Rachel of The Minimalist Mom: Three Steps to Wanting Less

beach family
source: Wonderlane

I grew up wanting a lot more than I had.

Six kids + one parent = a lot of hand-me-downs.

I thought my life would be so much better if I just had the right clothing, jeans with a Guess triangle symbol on the back pocket and things, a Sony Discman.

The cliche is true. If only my thirteen-year-old self knew what thirty-five-year-old now does: things can’t make you happy.

When I decided to embrace minimalism, I had to deal with how I tied things to social status. I also had to get over thinking that buying something or owning something would make my life different.

I make my life better. Not stuff.

It may seem like getting rid of your stuff is the hard part of embracing minimalism. For some people, it will be. For others, living with less will only be accomplished once they want less.

How do you want less? Here are three steps:

Unsubscribe and avoid.

Did you ever notice your kitchen looks much older and dingier after flipping through a home decor magazine?

Skip reading magazines full of advertisements promising a happier life from stuff. Only step foot in a store if you have a list of what you need to buy. Do not shop when tired, hungry, stressed out, or bored. Stop browsing online and in real life. Unsubscribe from retailers’ newsletters, catalogs, and emails.

Put up barriers.

Keep a list and wait 30 days before you buy something. Budget.

Know what you can spend and stick to it. Try having a no-buy day each week where you leave your wallet at home. Only have enough cash on you for what you need. You’ll want that impulse purchase a lot less when you have to go home to get your credit card to pay for it.

Shift your focus.

Enjoy what’s free in your life.

Fresh air, your family, phone calls on Skype, reading a book from the library. Remember that a satisfied and content life does not hinge on a sweater or an iPod. Build your days around the people and activities that you can spend love and energy – not money – on. When you find your happiness in strong relationships and rewarding hobbies and work, it’s easy to want less stuff.

Wanting less is a process, and it won’t come overnight. Start taking small steps in your life to remove advertising from your day, spend less time in stores and enjoy the many free things in your life.

Slowly you will find that buying and spending no longer have the allure it once did. And your life will be all the richer for it.

Are you often tempted by new, bigger and better? How do you quell wanting things that will not bring you happiness?

Rachel Jonat is a world medalist rower turned marketing professional turned SAHM/writer. In The Minimalist Mom, Rachel writes about living a rich life with less stuff. Currently living on a windswept island in the middle of the Irish Sea, Rachel owns two pairs of jeans, loves taking the bus, and is attempting to become a tea drinker.