Why Minimalism Brings Happiness

When I was packing for university, I found it extremely difficult to let go of some of the things I owned. I knew I couldn’t take everything with me, but I kept asking myself ‘how could I possibly throw this away?’. What if I need it one day? What about all of the memories?

Now that I’ve moved, and left that stuff behind, I don’t even miss it. Whether or not I got rid of it, it barely makes a bit of difference to me now.

I’ve learned that over time people forget, or their need for a particular object eventually diminishes. Either they store it away or they get rid of it.

You might think nostalgically about the toys you cared about when you were a child, but what is making you smile now is not the thing itself but the memory of it. I’ve heard it a hundred times, “you don’t need things to make you happy”. It takes something life changing like moving across the country to realise how true this is.

Speaking of which, for a lot of people, minimalism is about being able to move. It’s about being able to go almost anywhere at any time because you don’t have many possessions to carry. When you keep things you don’t need they become a burden that tie you to a place. Moving to university was a good time to let go of a lot of stuff. And when I visit for the holidays, I’ll probably get rid of even more, to lighten the burden.

Of course, there are exceptions. There are some things that are irreplaceable, very rare or expensive or we simply love and cherish for some reason or another, we are human after all. But after we keep those, how much is left that we don’t really need?

Hence, minimalism. And why does minimalism bring happiness? This was a bit of a roundabout way of saying that it’s because what really makes me happy is freedom. And the key to freedom is minimalism because minimalism reduces our attachment to things.

Attachment to too many objects create clutter and can severely hinder our freedom to do whatever we want, whereas minimalism helps us start new projects, move, travel, learn new things, meditate, work, expand, be debt free, be healthy – really living life to our full potential.

I left the nest to fly onwards and upwards, I can’t do it with old things weighing me down. And that is why I have adopted minimalism with open arms.

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  • This was a really good article. I’m glad that you tied it all to the concept of Freedom. I wasn’t expecting that but it’s very true. I’m not a student anymore but I remember fondly the times when I would pack up my necessities in my used compact car and hit the road to college. It was that sense of freedom as the road opened up in front of me, that sense of coming adventure, of embracing the unknown that was the best part of college for me.

    – Charley

    • minimalstudent

      Hey Charley! It’s good to see you, I’m a massive fan of your blog!

      Yes I totally agree, I think it’s the mixture of youth and newly found independence that makes one thirsty for freedom and like you say want to ’embrace the unknown’. I think minimalism is an essential part of that because it grants you the chance to ‘hit the road’ and yes, start a new adventure.

  • In my opinion, the value of minimalism is dependent upon the context of the individual. For that reason I don’t think the absence of things necessarily constitutes a minimalist way of life; instead, the ability to understand the value of what is and is not important to you and your life will ultimately (hopefully) lead to a more “free” way of life. In other words, I don’t think a minimalist way of life is determine by the absence of “things” or “stuff” – instead, I think it depends on understanding them and their personal value – and then getting rid things that don’t have as much value or purpose.

    A way I look it is if a runner loves light weight, minimal running shoes – loves how they make him/her feel lighter, faster, etc. But they are too heavy to wear them because they don’t support him/her enough and they will likely cause eventual injury. That person has to understand the value of wearing a supportive running shoe – not necessarily a light running shoe. Within the context of that person’s body, they need a slightly more durable, less minimal running shoe.

    In other words, perhaps: Minimalism is subjective.

    • minimalstudent

      Hey Justin, great comment! I think you bring up an interesting distinction within the subject of minimalism which is on the one hand having useful/practical stuff only, and on the other hand not owning much at all.

      I understand that for some people, having ‘stuff’ isn’t necessarily bad because they know what is important or valuable to them and have decided that they have use for it.

      And, I absolutely agree with you that minimalism is very subjective depending on a hundred factors, the person, their finances, job, where they live etc. Thanks for commenting, I think I’ve gained a few more post ideas too!

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  • Happiness is a state of mind that really depends how we see the situations in our lives each day. you can have all the riches in the world but still see it as a lonely place.`;-

  • Letting go is difficult at first. I used to be attached to things too. Minimalism is really the key to happiness.
    It is simple to be happy but so difficult to be simple.

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  • true happiness can be difficult to achieve, you can be rich but still not be truly happy `;”

  • Nima

    being minimalist or not to be ?!
    isnt it the matter of to have or to be ?!

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  • Mikou

    taie mihk diete dayue masu!
    Kahumi tarea:
    niha vas hute.