About Me

I'm a newbie minimalist who loves art, design, fashion and shopping. On my blog I journal my efforts to break away from consumerism and into contentment while still being me.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

How Stuff Makes Us Happy or Unhappy

A lot of minimalism blogs say "stuff can't make us happy," but I don't think that's completely true. Yes, ok, material objects can't provide true, lasting spiritual joy. But I still like stuff, and having new stuff. It makes me happy in a small way. For example, one of my favorite possessions is this bud vase from Crate & Barrel. It's beautiful and I really like looking at it.

We all like stuff, let's admit it. Stuff can make us feel temporarily happy, but more stuff does not equal more happiness. More stuff can make us miserable. People who suffer from hoarding disorders or cluttered houses describe it as "suffocating", "claustrophobic", "overwhelming" or "like drowning." That's pretty serious unhappiness!

We've all done it: we bought something that we thought would make us happy. We bring it home and have nowhere to put it, because our house is full. So we put it in a corner to deal with later.
Then it stays in the corner, making us feel bad every time we look at it.
When we do look at it we think "I would deal with it, but I'm just so busy."
We trip over it and stub our toes.
Other family members start to complain about it.
When guests come over we feel embarrassed and apologize for the mess.
We push it back further into the corner so we can have more space.
We feel guilty about the money we spent on it.

Eventually the stress it brings has more than outweighed the happy feelings we felt on buying it.

Not pictured: happiness. image source

So, weirdly, the key to enjoying your stuff is having less of it.

That's my approach to minimalism. I don't think I'll ever stop liking stuff or buying new stuff - although I am working on becoming less obsessed with it. My goal is to have less stuff, so that when I look into my closet, or sit at my desk, or pack up to move to a new place, I feel happy.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I also think that by getting rid of the stuff we don't use and don't really care about, we can enjoy the stuff we do love more. It's easier to say than do though.


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