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Have you ever gone to the store and thought to yourself ‘wow, I wish I could get all this stuff!’. I think most of us, at least on some level, are guilty of overspending, or at least wanting to overspend if we don’t have the cash to do so. Even a trip to the mall is enough to make some people wish they had better jobs or even charge up their credit card all in the name of buy, buy, buy. There are ways people can go about breaking the more mindset, but it’s not always easy.
Breaking the More Mindset
Even the veteran minimalist can attest that it’s not always easy to say no to things you want. Especially if those things make you happy in the short or long term. You might even be tempted to give up some of your freedoms (like working more) in order to achieve those things.
If you’re the kind of person who wants to be a minimalist but struggles with perspective, this post is for you. Here’s my best tips on breaking the more mindset – something even I struggle with from time to time.
Enough is enough
You’ve started yourself on this minimalism journey because you have too many things, or you feel burdened by your stuff in some way. But that doesn’t magically cure the reason that you got so much stuff in the first place! You know enough is enough, so why do you still have the desire to buy?
It’s important that you keep reminding yourself throughout the decluttering and minimalism process why you started in the first place. Keep notes of what motivates you, and what your goals are. Refer to them whenever you feel like making a purchase.
Stop using minimalism as an excuse to shop
Good consumers find any reason to consume. It’s pretty easy to use minimalism as a scapegoat to make a purchase that you can’t afford or need. Why not upgrade to an Instant Pot when it can replace two or three items in your kitchen? For a wealthy minimalist it is a good idea, but for someone who’s struggling with too much stuff and a shopping habit it’s not.
Set rules about what you’ll replace and when. Maybe it’s that you’ll only buy the Instant Pot when your slow cooker dies, or that you’ll replace your jeans when they get a hole. Whatever your rules are, you’ll at least have a guideline to stick to to avoid ironic buying for the sake of becoming a minimalist.
Do you really want to give up your life for stuff?
Think about your life. What are your post important goals? What do you dream about in the future, maybe 5 or 10 years from now? Do you enjoy going to work every day, or is it drudgery?
What happens when we feel the need to buy is we end up traded our time for our stuff. Besides the idea that the stuff creates a burden in the home, it also creates work for us in the form of cost. We work. That money pays for stuff. It’s a cycle that society is stuck in, and we continue to feed because that’s how capitalism works.
Trading hours for minutes
On the subject of work and time lost, think about how many hours you’ve worked to earn the money for something you want to buy. Is it one hour? Ten? Whatever that number, look at how many hours of satisfaction you’ll get from that item. Especially if it’s not absolutely essential.
Even if they’re not equal, if they joy you’ll get from using the object is worth it, then it’s a worthwhile purchase. But most of the time that’s not the case. Usually we waste our hours for something that only satisfies for a few minutes.
Don’t stop yourself from wanting more
Most of the time, we want more stuff because we’re ambitious people. Having things is a status symbol, and sometimes they make our lives easier too. Instead of giving up that drive and settling for less, you need to redirect that ambition. Stop aspiring to accumulate things, and instead accumulate experiences and freedom.
If you have money to spend, consider investing it or saving for early retirement. Or spend it on something that your entire family can spend hours making memories in, like a backyard pool or camper. You don’t need to stop spending money to be a minimalist, you just need to stop tying objects to success.
More tips for breaking the more mindset
- Focus on your goals
- Stay away from temptation
- Get yourself out of social circles that focus too much on consumption
- Work on introspection and get to the root of your ‘why’ when it comes to shopping
- Don’t associate success with brands or things
As you embark on breaking the more mindset in your own life remember that it will be a process. You can’t unlearn years of behaviour over night! Be patient with yourself, and stay focused. Eventually the change will happen if you persevere.