For most of us, it’s not until we move home that we come to realise just how much stuff we have accumulated over our elapsed time on the earth.
There’s clothing bundled into closets (some still waiting to see the light of day), oodles of gadgets, copious furniture items, and an extensive collection of decorative accessories the likes of Ikea would be envious of.
During our modern adult lives, we begin to saturate ourselves with buying stuff, owing to an innate drive to appear enriched, successful, comfortable and happy. But oh, what a fabricated reality this is.
Buying stuff has become ingrained in our psyche.
You need only look at the queues outside clothing stores upon post-lockdown reopening to see how invested we are in spending money on stuff.
We are attracted to all things new, and as a result, we spend so much of our time working ourselves into an exhausted state of social isolation, playing catch-up with the ever-evolving, ever-rotating retail conveyer belt of stuff for us to buy. But where does that leave us mentally?
It’s true that money doesn’t buy you happiness
But it does get you a whole host of stuff. And whilst we rejoice in purchases new for a few days, we soon find ourselves seeking external happiness from newer items before we even have the chance to appreciate what is already around us (which is, enough).
As our materialism grows, we become entrapped in a cycle of working harder and longer to earn more and buy more, resulting in burnout, dodging our reflective practices, emotional unavailability, and a tendency to avoid enriching our lives through priceless moments spent with loved ones.
How many times have you turned down a friend or family member, simply because you had too much work?
Happiness is affordable and it’s cheap
In the book You Can Buy Happiness, and it’s Cheap, Tammy Strobel outlines how a connected and conscious life enables happiness through the act of living (the book is actually a lot less hippy, a lot more breaking-corporate).
Happiness begins by taking affordable micro-actions every day to rid your life of excessive stuff.
By removing psychological connections to items around us and ridding ourselves of buying and owning excessive stuff, each item we keep begins to take on a practical role in daily life, rather than burdening us with its presence.
By distancing emotionality from stuff, we open ourselves up to personal development. It’s like cutting the umbilical cord to our working lives by ditching cyclic work-spend routines, freeing up our resources and time, and enabling the enrichment of wellbeing and connectivity with others.
In other words, goodbye emails at 10.01 pm, and hello to dinner dates. With minimalism in mind, to condense this contemplation into one poetic sentence, I do so using this perfectly ponderable quote
“We are too materialistic in every sense of the word, and not materialistic enough in the true sense of the word” – Juliet Schor: PhD. Economist and Sociologist.
Something to bear in mind before you rush back to the shops.
Charlotte is an author, editor and content creator, whose interests and work promote sustainable living, in every sense of the word. Charlotte is a marketer for ethical brands, author of a soon-to-be-published children's book, a regular contributor to the sustainability and plant-based publications, and is studying clinical psychology with the view to revolutionising women's holistic, natural and mental healthcare. Find Charlotte on Instagram: @charlottesophiewrites