What does “rich” mean to you? Is it (a) having lots of stuff like a new car every few years, a dozen flat screen televisions all over your huge, custom designed house, a closet filled with more outfits than you can possibly wear in a year, and owning dozens of pairs of shoes in every color of the rainbow? Maybe it means living in an exclusive gated community, dining out in five-star restaurants on a regular basis, owning a beach house, and taking exotic vacations every year, or maybe several times a year. Or, does being “rich” mean (b) living debt free, being able to pay your bills the day they arrive in the mail, having extra money to loan or give to those in need, a big, fat savings account, and the freedom to do, go, and be whatever, wherever, and whomever you darn well please?
If you answered “a” to the question above, we’d like to propose another approach (you guessed it, it’s “b”). Have you heard of the concept of Minimalism? You may think that minimalism requires giving away all your stuff, not owning a car, house, or more than you can carry in a backpack, and surviving on the kindness of others. This is not the heart behind minimalism, although you’re certainly free to live how you please. The purpose of minimalism is to live a truly fulfilling life free of some things (the extra “stuff” you don’t really need) while embracing what really matters and adds value to your life. But, how do you decide your true “need”? We’re glad you asked!
Need looks different for everyone. Some minimalists live in houses, have children, and own businesses. Other minimalists own very few possessions and spend their time traveling the world, visiting foreign countries, and experiencing life immersed in other cultures. There are no fixed “rules” to minimalism, but there are guiding principles, one of which is to let go of anything that doesn’t add value to your life, and keep only that which you use, enjoy, and need to live your best life.
First of all, it isn’t just about the “stuff” but that’s a great place to start when gaining an understanding of what exactly constitutes minimalism. Excess stuff, whether it be material items like clothing, cars, electronics, appliances, and other “things” or intangible items such as time commitments, relationships, or thought processes, can weigh us down, cause us stress, keep us up at night, and block room for the important things in life. And therein lies the answer to how you begin to evaluate your true need. Ask yourself what it is that you couldn’t live without, and the honest answer probably won’t have anything to do with material items. Minimalism allows you to get the “stuff” out of the way so that you can figure out what is truly important in your life. If this sounds intriguing, your next question may be how to get started on getting rid of the superfluous. Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of how to “Live Rich with Less Stuff”.