In this blog, all photos were taken by Matthew Garsky (@matthewgarsky).
Every few years, I’ve had to move to a different place. Each time, I’ve gone into the move thinking that it will be easy, believing the lie that I only have a few things to pack and that it’ll be a quick and painless day. I’m not one to buy things left and right; I’m not a hoarder; I’m not the owner of too many furniture pieces or kitchen appliances. Yet, each time I begin packing my things, I end up staring deep into the abyss of just how much I have and (more frustratingly) how much I need to haul to my next place. I don’t know how it happens, but it does. Every time, I think to myself, “I need less stuff.” You might be in the same position as I am. If you’re unsure, consider these questions:
What items do you use the most?
Are there things you own that you’ve never used in the last year? Never needed? Forgot that you even owned?
How would your life change if you didn’t own those things?
Chances are, you have more than you need, but is there really any benefit to changing any of that? It’s not something you have to do, but the following reasons for minimizing your amount of “stuff” might make downsizing something you want to do.
Less Stuff Means Less Mess
It’s obvious, but it’s worth highlighting. With fewer things, there’s less to worry about cleaning up. There’s less to put back in cupboards, less laundry to pack away into dressers, and on and on. If you find yourself dreading having to pick up after yourself, then solve that problem by owning fewer things that you have to pick up! For example, owning fewer coffee mugs (don’t we all somehow collect dozens?) can force you to do dishes sooner, meaning that you’ll have less of a pile in your sink.
Downsizing Can Be A Side-Hustle
Whether it’s getting rid of your extra clothes at a place like Rag-O-Rama, or pawning off that old couch on Craigslist, clearing out those barely used items stuffs your wallet. Often times, it turns out that the things we no longer use were never used. Selling something “like new” can be a way to make a good amount of your money back. We’re not saying that it will pay rent, but you can reward yourself for your hustle by subsidizing a nice meal with the money you’ve earned back. Try not to just by more stuff to clutter your apartment all over again.
Downsizing Is An Opportunity For Generosity
If you’re in a position where you don’t need extra cash, always remember that there are people needing help all around us. Donating old clothes, furniture, cookware, and more helps those who are less fortunate. If you find yourself overflowing with things, consider donating to Volunteers of America, Goodwill, or a family you know.
A Less Crowded Apartment Is Better For Your Health
In “The Powerful Psychology Behind Cleanliness,” Psychology Today looks at several studies showing the shocking correlations between a neat home and better mental health. One example comes from a 2011 study at Princeton University, where researches concluded that we’re less concentrated and motivated when our visual cortex is crowded by “task-irrelevant” items (AKA the extra stuff we have lying around). This explains why, once things are messy, it can be so hard to clean them back up! Additionally, the article follows other studies that link messiness to depression and increases in cortisol, our stress hormone.
The solution? Psychology Today calls on its readers to get rid of their clutter. In doing so, you have fewer items that will pile up, raising your chance of keeping things clean and, most importantly, giving you a better well-being.
Simplicity Is Elegant
…especially when you’re living in a Lykens apartment. Apartments featuring high-quality countertops like ours are enhanced the more you expose their luxury materials. With this in mind, ridding yourself of the Panini press that you bought (and used twice) makes sense.
Make Moving Easy
A rental isn’t a permanent living situation. Leases end. Jobs change. Families grow. People move. Rather than pack an apartment like you’re settling down forever, live in a way that makes moving less of a hassle. Less stuff makes for less of a headache.
Realizing Your True “Needs”
Finally, minimizing the things we own gives us a new perspective on life. If you’ve ever gone on a hiking trip or a long vacation, you know what it’s like to live with just the clothes on your back (and the things in your luggage). We go into these trips skeptical, wondering if we can really make it without our entire wardrobe, just one pair of shoes, and only a few other important items. As it turns out, we can.
Living a great life is much more than surrounding ourselves with gadgets, clothes, and toys. While a smart home is nifty and a hand-blown Chemex is cool, they are not “needs.” By minimizing the items we own, we simplify our lives. There’s less to buy, less to maintain, less to upgrade, and less to worry about. Instead, we’re able to refocus on what we really need and what really matters.