Consumerism — the concept that an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy.
And beneficial to the economy it is. Consumer Spending in Australia increased to $232 billion in the first quarter of 2016, up from $231 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015. Those numbers are hard to say, let alone fathom.
Handing over our money for things we want in the moment, want our friends to see we own, or think we need is commonplace. Phrases like ‘retail therapy’ and ‘shopaholic’ were coined for and by consumers, and Oniomania, an uncontrollable desire to buy things, is on the rise.
Though, how much ‘stuff’ do you really need? And do the things that you buy make you happy long term, or is it about a fleeting high when you make a purchase?
Joshua Becker realized that all his ‘stuff’ wasn’t making him happy.
“I decided to minimize my possessions after I came to the realization that not only were my possessions not bringing happiness into my life, even worse, they were distracting me from the very things that do!,” Becker told The Huffington Post Australia.
Following this realization which came while cleaning out an overflowing garage, Becker vowed to live life with less. Becoming Minimalist — a fantastic blog covering his and his family’s journey as well as tips to a less cluttered life — is the result.
“We live in a society that champions and promotes excess at every turn. Marketers have developed enormous skill in fostering discontent in our lives — always offering more happiness in our next purchase. Unfortunately, material possessions never fully deliver on their promise. As a result, we begin spending our lives accumulating more and more possessions, storing them in bigger and bigger houses, not ever realizing that we are chasing happiness in things that can never bring it,” Becker said.
When you think about it, he’s right. How many of your belongings are actually necessities? How much room does it all take up in drawers, dressers and cupboards? Why do you have so much stuff? Once you ask yourself those questions and address your motivations you can begin to learn to live with less.
Here are Becker’s tips for getting started:
Start easy. “Your first step in the right direction does not have to be a big one. Our personal journey began by removing the clutter from our cars. Literally. The first things we minimised were ketchup packets, Happy Meal toys, old receipts, and rarely used music CDs. It wasn’t big, but it got us moving in the right direction.
“Our next projects included the living room, the bedroom, and our wardrobe. Each room or closet was a little bit harder than the previous. But we found important momentum in the early steps to help carry us through the difficult ones down the road,” Becker said.