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Cut the clutter and make room for the more important things.

You may have heard of two friends, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who have been travelling America and public speaking about their book Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life. They have experienced and conquered the art of decluttering one’s life of objects that are not useful, downsizing one’s space, and making room for a place to think clearly, uninterrupted, and peacefully.

When your room gets that little bit too messy, or your children’s toys are all over the living room floor, do you feel yourself getting that slight bit more agitated at little things? Then suddenly when everything is tidied away in a cupboard, hidden to our eye and therefore persuading our brain that it isn’t messy anymore, do you feel a sense of relief and peace? In a nutshell, if these objects never existed in the first place, your feelings of angst would never have appeared. Why, therefore, do we continually clutter our space with objects?

Hein Zegers, psychologist and happiness researcher, considers a minimalist lifestyle to be a sure fire way to achieve a meaningful life. The term ‘meaningful’ here purports to the easiest of concepts – to live a simple life. A study by Chaplin and John (2007), suggests that there is a strong correlation between low self-esteem and materialism, usually derived from childhood, and thus one inspires the other and vice versa. Rather than considering whether money affects happiness, the focus is rather becoming how this money is spent.

What minimalism inspires is a reassessment of your priorities so that you can focus on what really matters. In a sense, we should all think slightly selfishly if we want to achieve true happiness. Many parents at this point will be thinking that selfishness isn’t something that comes with parenthood, but have a think about this. If you can strip away the majority of the things in your life that are not helping you become a better and happier person, why wouldn’t you? Save your money instead of spending it on things you don’t truly need and step away from those draining relationships, and you will have more time and more money to do things you really like to do.

Now this is not to say you have to strip your walls bare and get rid of every accessory you have, but perhaps you don’t need all of those ornaments on your window-sill, or all of those shoes or dresses or technology accessories. Many people who adopt this way of life find that they then don’t need such a big house because they no longer have so many possessions to find space for. Many have downsized to an astonishing 30 to 120 sqm living space. In turn, this decluttering and downsizing has a healthy impact on the environment by reducing the amount of rural areas being demolished for housing space. As the population continues to rise, we must begin to consider how we can use less space.

Give it a go and see if you feel a change!