The Art of Living with Less

The concept of minimalism is not a new one, for thousands of years living simply was a way of getting closer to God.

Monks of all faiths live with extraordinarily little; nuns give up all their possessions to be ‘married to the lord.’ Living with minimal possessions reflected not only what they were sacrificing but also left no distraction from what was important, devotion to God. 

In recent years, despite today’s consumer driven society, there has been a turn back to living only with what we truly need.

Henry David Thoreau famously wrote-

‘Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify! Simplicity of life and Elevation of purpose.”

It does not necessarily mean living with two t-shirts, a pair of pants and a toothbrush or living like a monk, but having a home full of things that you do not use is distracting, it creates clutter, not to mention being difficult to keep clean.

Often unknowingly, we use shopping as a form of therapy, and sure if you get lots of joy AND use out of whatever it is that you buy, go for it!

But how many of us have a third of our wardrobes filled with things we do not wear? Cupboards full of things we don’t use, and days filled maintaining ‘things’ rather than living.

Minimalism invites us to reflect on what we do use and how often we use it.

Consumerism comes in many forms, your search for external satisfaction may not be of the retail therapy kind. 

This then begs the question- What void are we trying to fill within ourselves with these ‘things’?

Hoarding is an outward sign of a cluttered and unhappy mind, a blanket covering up a deep pain. 

Not only does what we consume impact our minds, our homes and bank accounts, it has a devastating impact on our environment. 

Companies have turned to cheap methods of mass manufacture which creates excessive environmental waste, it also results in a poorly made product that does not last and falls apart after only one or two uses, ultimately ending up in the bin. 

Buy less, choose well. 

Minimalism is not a one size fits all approach, it really should reflect what suits you as an individual and brings harmony to your home and life.

“Simplify your life. Do not waste the years struggling for things that are unimportant. Do not burden yourself with possessions. Keep your needs and wants simple and enjoy what you have. Do not destroy your peace of mind by looking back, worrying about the past. Live in the present. Simplify!” Henry David Thoreau

It does not have to be an overwhelming experience, start small. Minor changes add up to make a significant impact and next time you really do need to buy something, be a conscious consumer, there are so many options to make a wiser choice. 

Embrace the art of living with less!

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