“You can never get enough of what you don’t really want”
Rick Hanson, PhD Neuropsychologist
“You are not gonna get happier by consuming more”
(Minimalism – the movie)
“So much of our life is lived in a fog-habitual behavior”
(Minimalism – the movie)
I started downsizing 3 years ago, when I had to fit my life in one luggage and the back of my car. I moved from Austria to Romania to live with my boyfriend. In the days I was clearing the house I in Austria, I started giving up stuff.
It was clothes I liked, but never wore, pants, presents from people who didn’t know my taste but mostly, things I almost never used, but only moved around from time to time, because they were in my way.
Benefits of living tiny
Besides the excitement of starting a new life in a tiny house, you will also start learning to live on fewer belongings. Which is an amazing, empowering feeling that you control what you owe, not the other way around.
Do you know people who build a house and then spend all their life taking care of it, afraid that burglars would barge in, that the TV will be stolen and the value box will be broken in and the jewelry will be gone. I know a few.
Living with just what you need, will free you from the emotional connection to stuff. You will only have a practical attachment to your belongings and practicality will be the most wanted quality of the items you keep in your tiny house.
Tiny living is a big enemy of consumerism and the friend to more money in the pocket to start with. So, if you decided to live tiny, you are probably more ready to have fewer things than you might think.
Preparing to live tiny
Living with fewer things is a way of life, not a weekend turn of fate. Exercise it way before you move in. See how it feels, how hard it is to separate you from belongings. Or how easy.
To feel comfortable in a tiny house you are going to have to downsize your belongings. It is the same as cleaning your life from negative people, but way easier. Once you give up the items, they never come back.
How to start
- Identify the things important to you, those that make you happy, bring value to your life and that you use everyday
- Identify things that do not fit to the description above
- Take them out of your drawers, lockers, attic…and start putting them on categories like: books, summer clothes, winter clothes, kitchen ware- it will make your life easier later when you give them away
The trick in letting go of belongings is differentiating between their actual value and perceived value! We are often emotional consumers. By buying ourselves objects, we do not necessary need; we are filling in emotional voids. It makes us happy in the moment of purchase and short after, but then its gone. And we need to restart. This is how 400 mp2 houses becomes filled up with stuff we don’t even know we have and soon we find yourself saying: I don’t have space anymore
Imagine the waste of money, energy, time you could have used for things you actually can remember. Like experiences and memories.
How to identify things you no longer use?
For some item its easier to track if you use them or not, but with clothes it could be harder. Especially if you have many items.
Examples of items and how to select them:
You divide your hangers in two sides: the left and the right with all hooks facing the back wall of the locker.
Every time you use an item you put it into the Right side with the hook facing you. Soon enough you will have a bunch of items on the left.
We all have books we read and didn’t leave any mark or little in our memory. Those are not for you. Give them away. Where?
To a public library, a school, a childcare institution or a friend that might find more sense in it than you did.
How to have more books and save space? Ebook!
Close your eyes and imagine what will be representative for your new tiny home. It doesn’t have multiple rooms. Its mostly just one open space that needs a gentle identity. Choose the paintings you keep according to the interior design of your tiny.
Count the friends you have. This is how much cutlery you will need. If you are one spoon short, do not worry. A good friend wont mind eating with the ladle until a plastic spoon shows up.
With pots and pans is easy. What matters is how many people will dwell the tiny and this is how big the pots should be. You will not use more than 3 in the same time. So one for soup, one for pasta and one for tea will do the job.
Pans? I have one.
Items with sentimental value are the hardest to let go. They are often less practical, rarely used but represent a memory that provides you with an emotional vibe.
The important thing is to understand that the memory matters not the item itself. So, if you have been given a collection of dolls, you probably do not need to keep all the pieces. Keep just one as a symbol instead, display it in your house and the memory will rekindle.
Also if you have a hobby that implies gadgets and equipment like fisherman, skier, climber, painter you will have only one important decision to make:
- Do you want to keep the equipment in the tiny
- Or not.
Ways to make giving up on stuff easier:
- Use the things you give up to make presents to your friends
- Donate your things to children, people in need, neighbors that might need and use them more than you did. It will make you feel good. That coat you kept in the attic for years now, will warm up the back of someone living on the streets. Do you need more positive vibe for your decluttering start?
- Make a yard sale with the stuff you give away
We need so little to be happy.
The less things we have, the less worries and more savings for things that makes us happy. Would you trade a fancy dress for a plane ticket? I definitely would.
Minimalism can be your ticket to more freedom, less worries, less overwhelming, and less addiction to possessions.
That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with owning material belongings. Today’s problem is that we are addicted to our material possessions; we give to much value to our things. We try to buy out our way to happiness. Or at least we think we do. Possessions are the last thing that matter to our happiness. But our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves do.
Minimalism is a way of life that rids your self from life’s excesses, giving you space to focus on what matters: your happiness, your fulfillment and your freedom.