Note: This is a guest post by Rachel Jonat from The Minimalist Mom.
I grew up wanting a lot more than I had.
We lived in a wealthy community and my mother was a single parent of six children. She decided to keep us in that city, despite the difficult social stigma of our situation, because the public schools were great and it was a nice neighborhood for us to grow up in. I believe it was the right decision but it was a hard one. We were the have-nots, the kids without money for the field trip or hot dog days, the kids without winter coats.
So I grew up wanting things I could not have. Mostly clothing. I wanted to dress like everyone else.
My want of more stuff came at a very young age and was tied to self-esteem. The school yard can be a cruel place and the kid with the most money and best clothing is rarely the picked on child.
When I decided to embrace minimalism I had to deal with how I tied things to social status. I also had to get over thinking that buying something, or owning something, would make my life different.
I make my life better, authentic, rich in strong relationships and fun. Not stuff.
It may seem like getting rid of your stuff is the hard part to embracing minimalism. For some people it will be. For others, living with less will only be accomplished once they want less.
How do you want less? Here are three steps.
Unsubscribe and avoid: ever notice how your kitchen looks that much older and dingier after flipping through a home decor magazine? To get over wanting new things don’t read magazines full of advertisements promising a happier life from stuff. Only step foot in a store if you have a list of what you need to buy. Do not shop when tired, hungry, stressed out or bored. Stop browsing online and in real life. Unsubscribe from retailers newsletters, catalogs, and emails.
Put up barriers: keep a list and wait 30 days before you buy something. Budget. Know what you can spend and stick to it. Try having a no-buy day each week where you leave your wallet at home. Only have enough cash on you for what you need. You’ll want that impulse purchase a lot less when you have to go home to get your credit card to pay for it.
Shift your focus: enjoy what’s free in your life. Fresh air, your family, phone calls on Skype, reading a book from the library. Remember that a satisfied and content life does not hinge on a sweater or an iPod. Build your days around relationships and activities that you can spend love and energy – not money – on. When you find your happiness in strong relationships, and rewarding activities, it’s easy to want less stuff.
Wanting less is a process and it won’t come overnight. Start taking small steps in your life to remove advertising from your day, spend less time in stores, and enjoy the many free things in your life. Slowly you will find that buying and spending no longer has the allure it once did. And you’re life will be all the richer for it.
Rachel and her husband are striving to live a minimalist lifestyle while raising their young son. To read more about their experiences, please visit her blog, theminimalistmom.com.
photo by Wonderlane
Article originally published on 02/14/2011