Many people ask themselves what the primary benefits of minimalism are. If I had to name one, it would be freedom: the freedom to live on your own terms according to self-defined priorities. On this basis, here are six ways in which minimalism leads to more freedom.
Minimalism is a straightforward idea.
You spend less time, energy, and money on the things that don’t matter and focus on the essentials.
By removing clutter, commitments, and constraints, you put yourself into a position that will increase your freedom.
You’ll find more time to enjoy great moments with loved ones. You’ll unlock financial resources to fund passion projects. And finally, you’ll remove the psychological strain created by too many irons in the fire.
In short, you’ll experience more freedom.
The connection between minimalism and freedom
Freedom and minimalism go hand in hand for various reasons. The following are some of the most crucial ways in which minimalism leads to more freedom in life.
More space as a result of fewer possessions
Let’s start with the obvious. By decluttering your home and getting rid of superflous items, you create space.
A decluttered desk offers more space to work. You’ll enjoy cooking more on well-organized kitchen tops. And an absence of loose items in your living room will boost its hygge factor.
Many of us don’t realize that we are accumulating stuff until the clutter becomes painfully visible. In other words, we don’t control our buying habits before looking at a mountain of clothes, tech gadgets, comic books, and kitchen utensils.
That mountain is the reason why we need to consume intentionally.
By curating our purchases – as in, buying according to self-determined consumption rules – we acquire things that add value to our lives without mindlessly hoarding.
Intentional consumption is a personal finance booster, but it also increases our freedom. The self-determination of our buying habits eliminates peer pressure, consumer addictions, and “keeping up with the Joneses.” As such, intentional consumption norms help us consume with freedom and value in mind.
Fewer commitments can help you pursue more passion projects
The next way in which minimalism leads to more freedom is commitment prioritization.
Saying no is an underrated skill in today’s world.
In the words of Steve Jobs,
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”
Minimalism is about identifying the commitments that improve your life and saying no to others.
Check your calendar and look at all the things you “have to do” this week. There might be networking events, appointments, shopping trips, and lots of other to-dos.
Ask yourself: how many of these are genuinely essential? Do these commitments adhere to my priorities? Or do I pursue them as a result of external pressure?
Once we realize that most of our to-dos come from external sources, we start to scan their importance. And that prioritization process generally frees up space on our schedule.
The newly-found time is highly liberating. We can use it to finally start that personal project we’ve been dreaming about, spend more time with our friends and family, and read more books.
Many people think that their schedule is out of their hands. After a thorough assessment, however, they often realize that they choose most of their non-essential commitments.
Fewer location ties are the secret to traveling more
Some people seem to be traveling all the time while others never get the chance.
Let me tell you a little secret: it’s not money.
There are a few ways to travel more, and minimalism is undoubtedly one of them. In simple terms, the fewer location ties you have, the more you’ll be able to travel.
What are those location ties?
First and foremost, there is remote work. Many people got their first taste of working from home in 2020, and the trend is now ubiquitous. In other words, if you’re still in a company that doesn’t have a remote work policy, it might be time to consider other prospects.
The world is shifting more and more away from conventional offices – making full-time travel, semi-nomadism, and half office/half remote policies ever more popular.
Consequently, the first key to traveling more is to minimize location ties at work. If you’re an employee, find an agreement with your boss, build a productive routine for the road, and experiment with working while traveling.
The next system that can help you travel more is to minimize the commitments that are location-reliant.
Whether it’s banking, client meetings, work in professional/charity organizations, or other extra-curricular activities, you can do almost everything virtually these days.
If you want to experience the freedom of going anywhere at any time, you need to start by checking all your habits, work-related routines, and engagements that require your physical presence. Minimizing those is the secret to mobility – one of the most critical aspects of lifestyle design.
Less stuff means less financial burden
Minimalism is a powerful budgeting tool. That might sound self-evident, but many people still don’t realize that all of the useless stuff they buy digs a hole into their wallets.
Much like consuming intentionally, reducing your subscriptions, takeouts, and other extra expenses will help you advance toward financial freedom – one of the greatest aspirations of the 21st century.
Fewer priorities will help you do a few select things better
Minimalism is not only about an increase in liberties. It’s also about finding the freedom to bolster the quality of your endeavors.
As bestseller author Eric Barker once said,
“Do fewer things and do them well. Focus on the things only you can do.”
The fewer priorities you cram into your days, the more time and energy you’ll have to do those things properly. It’s the old quality-over-quantity mantra.
As an example, in the early days of my writing career, I accepted every freelance gig. After a while, I realized that I was spending countless hours on low-paying, low-quality clients that didn’t advance my business. Once I started to focus on getting better clients, my pieces improved dramatically. I had used the Pareto rule in terms of clients. The result was a drastic surge in the quality of my work and also my income.
Fewer worries will help you break free psychologically
Finally, minimalism also has a substantial impact on your psychological freedom.
Clutter – both mental and physical – creates a psychological burden. You have to think about your credit card debt, your commitments, and your never-ending to-do list.
At some point, you’ll become a slave to those thoughts. They will never leave you alone and fill your mind with psychological strain.
That’s why you need to write down all the things that cause you sleepless nights. It’s usually stress at work, to-dos, and relationship problems.
Once written down, ask yourself how you can minimize them.
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Jack Krier is a writer, photographer, and entrepreneur. On Minimalist Focus, he shares his ideas on minimalism and personal growth, helping thousands of readers improve their lives by focusing on the essentials.