Are you pursuing happiness or possessions?

When I started minimizing our home back in 2008, it didn’t take long for me to begin recognizing significant ways my life was improving.

Only two days into minimalism, the first benefit occurred to me. As I was getting rid of things—and had no intention of replacing them with new things—I realized that owning less offered a financial opportunity. As we accumulated fewer things, we would spend less money. Additionally, it would cost much less because we would have fewer things to store, maintain, repair, and clean.

Just one day later it occurred to me how my new life would be affecting my kids. My son was five and my daughter two, and they were both soaking up values from us as parents about how to live and how to achieve significance.

Becoming minimalist modeled for my children the beliefs that personal belongings are not the key to happiness, that security is found in character, and that the pursuit of happiness runs on a different road than the pursuit of possessions.

The next day—less than ninety-six hours into pursuing minimalism—I noticed how it was becoming easier to find things in my house.

Over the coming days and months, I noticed how easy it was becoming to clean the house . . . how the process was freeing me from past mistakes . . . how my home and life were becoming more peaceful and less stressful . . . and how minimalism was allowing me to own higher-quality things.

Here’s the point of all this: those benefits kept me going! The more I noticed and was able to articulate how owning less was improving my life in practical ways, the more I wanted it. What started as a simple feeling of calm sitting in a newly minimized living room or decluttered vehicle provided motivation to move forward.

There is no doubt you will quickly begin to see the positive results of owning fewer possessions as soon as your first room is completed. Pay attention to these advantages as they come. Reflect on them. Savor them. Discuss them with the others in your family. In this way, the process of minimizing will itself energize you to keep going until you have reached your goal of a fully decluttered house.

We minimize not out of guilt but because of our goals. It’s a positive process. Let’s enjoy it and make the most of it.

And then as we near the end, let’s see how the process has caused us to rethink and expand our goals for what we can do with the rest of our lives. Our home minimalism makeover becomes a makeover of us when we let it transform our future.

Excerpted from The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life.” Copyright © 2018 by Joshua Becker. To be published by WaterBrook, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, on December 18.

Joshua Becker is the founder and editor of Becoming Minimalist, a website dedicated to inspiring others to find more life by owning less. The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Declutter, Refocused Life” is a following up to his 2016 best-seller, “The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own.”
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