What would life look like for you if you decided to live with less? Do you think it would be less complicated? I catch myself reflecting on minimalism and how the choices I make in life shape my day-to-day.
Americans are firmly entrenched in a hyper-consumerist society.
- Since 1973, the average size of newly constructed US homes has increased by over 50%, while the average household size has decreased resulting in a nearly doubled average amount of living space per person (source).
- You would think that with larger homes, two car garages would be occupied as intended: with cars. This is not the case – according to a study by the US Department of Energy, 25% of those with two car garages have no room for cars, while 32% only have room for one car (source).
- Weddings in the 1930s cost an average of ¼ of household income, compared to today’s cost of ½ of household income (source). Between 2010 and 2016, the average cost of a wedding rose more than $5,000 (source).
- Nearly half of Americans admit to overspending on holiday gifts. According to NerdWallet, 28% of Americans were still paying off 2017’s holiday credit card debt during the 2018 holidays (source).
- Despite hundreds to thousands of social media connections and Facebook friends, a recent study has determined that the number of close friends Americans have has decreased from three to two in the last 25 years (source).
- Even with an improving economy, a record 7 million Americans are at least 3 months behind on car loan payments. This figure is about a million more than in 2009, towards the end of the last recession (source).
- The average American family spends $1,700 a year on clothing (source). Yet, most people only wear 20% of their clothes (source).
Through constant advertisements, social media influences, and external pressures, Americans have been wired to overconsume. It’s caused us to extend beyond our physical and financial means.
We are more technologically connected than ever, and yet we find ourselves more and more alone.
In Excess We Trust
Lost in the depths of “stuff”, our wallets are empty, our homes are cluttered, and we are stretched far too thin with obligations and living up to others’ expectations to actually enjoy life.
So what would happen if you just decided to live with less?
Living with Less
In experimenting with downsizing and simplifying different parts of my life, I’ve learned how to measure significance, not live in excess, and be more present.
I deleted my social media years ago. Some people like it…I am not one of those people. Without it, I found myself purposefully connecting with the people I actually wanted to spend my time with. I grew closer with friends and family.
It’s so easy to trick yourself into thinking that you are staying in touch with everyone simply by checking out their photos or leaving a quick comment. If that is the depth of your relationships, then by all means – have at it! For me, I look for authenticity. I appreciate relationships of genuine conversation and connection.
I live on 50% of what I make. The remaining 50% of my income is saved, invested, and put towards flexible spending.
Living on less has taught me that I really don’t NEED more. It has taught me to value what I have and because I value what I have, I’m pretty calculated when it comes to something I might want.
Possessions are as temporary as life is temporary.
While there might be some beloved items in your arsenal, the truth is that you could likely live without the majority of the stuff you own.
I purge all throughout the year. Through donations, eBay sales, and even landfill visits, I shed the things that are not used or valued. Purging creates a cleaner space, which, for me, creates an uncluttered mind.
I stopped drinking in February, started again in March, and stopped again in April.
Speaking of an uncluttered mind, I have to say that my mind does feel sharper and more aware since I have had less alcohol. I toy with the idea of quitting alcohol altogether, but I do enjoy my beverages!
I will say that my experiment with no alcohol has resulted in better sleep, better hydration, and a clearer mind. My body feels less tired and bloated, which is always a plus.
Because I removed people from my life who I no longer want to connect with, I find myself living with less obligations. I am not the kind of person who lives life through obligations.
If it doesn’t truly bring you joy, then why bother?
Having no obligations allow us more free time to do the things we want to do with the people we want to spend time with.
Living with less of the above has helped me feel healthier, calmer, and more confident. It has brought a different perspective to life. I am much more present in my day-to-day and look forward to seeing what the future brings.
What ways could you live with less? How do you think it would change you?