“Oh, the relaxation I could enjoy and care I could provide my family if I wasn’t putting away, organizing, sorting, eliminating, buying, looking for, moving, removing, throwing out, selling, receiving, wanting, researching…THINGS.”
– Trina Cress
As I’ve said many times, minimalism isn’t just about stuff. It’s not even mostly about stuff. Getting rid of our stuff is merely a way to gain more time and energy for the things we value. For most of us, relaxation is pretty high on the priority list.
Having less stuff means having less stuff to clean and less cleaning means extra time for more enjoyable activities.
I’ve heard of people who enjoy housework, but I’m not one of them, and I’ll bet most of you aren’t either. Most of us would be thrilled to spend less time scrubbing and more time sipping coffee on the deck, knitting on the sofa or canoeing on the lake.
Fewer possessions also means less time spent organizing them. After all, how much time have you spent trying to organize stuff you don’t even use?
“How do you feel when you walk into a room full of stuff? Do you feel relaxed and at ease?…Have you ever been to a five star hotel that had all sorts of junk all over the place? I believe we innately seek the peace and calm of an organized and spacious environment.”
– Manal Ghosain
Minimalism also visually results in more relaxation. We rarely feel peaceful in a room where the horizontal surfaces are covered with papers, knickknacks, toys and other stuff. We’re much more likely to feel tranquil in a neat, uncluttered room.
This isn’t just interior-decorator advice. Studies have shown that a busier visual background negatively affects our ability to focus and results in increased stress.
I don’t mean we need to redecorate our homes using minimalist interior design principles, though you certainly can if you’d like. Personally, I find minimalist design a bit stark and prefer a cozier feel, but the decorating style isn’t important.
Simply reducing the amount of stuff you own so that you have more empty space in a room will make the space feel more calming.