Does Minimalism Really Make You Happier?

Recently, Olena Kagui, took the plunge and went on a mission of minimalism. Here is what she found.

With Marie Kondo telling millions of people that less is more, many have purged their belongings in the hopes that less really is more. Recently, I downsized big-time, clearing out 90% of my belongings. Let’s explore the concept of minimalism and find out if minimalists truly are happier.

 

Landy’s Art

Back in 2001, Michael Landy destroyed every single belonging as a piece of performance art. It took him three years to put together a space and assemble all of his 7,227 items to destroy publicly. 

It took two weeks to destroy everything from his father’s sheepskin coat, his car, love letters, and other sentimental items as well as valuable possessions. 

Viewers described it as deeply disturbing, even though all that was destroyed was just stuff. 

This reaction alone is evidence that we, as humans, can be extremely materialistic and vain. Twenty years later, he was interviewed by the Guardian, and he lived a minimalist lifestyle and regrets nothing. 

Although I struggle to believe that Michael Landy doesn’t miss a single of the thousands of items he destroyed, I do believe that having less can make one happier. 

Over the past few years, I have purged most of my belongings due to overseas moves twice. Although I did end up accumulating a hoard of objects time after time, I always felt better when having less.

The idea behind minimalism making you happier is that with less stuff comes less worry, stress, and chaos. 

 

Sentiment

Although I have a few possessions that I will keep with me until the day I die, I did burn my diaries, gave away most of my childhood toys, and donated furniture that meant a lot to me. 

When I decided to part with these items, I cried, took photos, and re-read page after page. 

Today I realised that even though I can no longer touch the items, they remain in my memory, so they are always with me.

Although I don’t encourage anyone to follow in Michael Landy’s footsteps, I do think that it can be great to reassess our belongings.

Take the time to ponder why you are holding on to particular objects and if you’d feel freer without the object. 

 

Is Minimalism A Good Idea?

I was considering moving to Hawaii’s Big Island and buying a house in an area that was wiped out by lava in 2018.

My hope was to be in a situation where, in case of an emergency evacuation, I could take what truly matters – my family, and be at peace watching my house burn down, knowing that I had everything I needed with me.

Still, I don’t believe that everyone should go out and make drastic decisions without giving it some thought. There is no shame in keeping things that you need or don’t want to part with. 

However, most people could do with a little purging. Plus, studies do show that it can make you happier! 

Consider starting your journey to minimalism with self-reflection. Then explore the different decluttering methods, such as KonMari, discarding anything you don’t wear/use in a year, and asking, “would I buy it again?” 

There are so many ways to do this, and if you want to try, you’ll find the one that suits you best!


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