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Minimalism: The Value of Living With Less

More and Less balance, young man holding a tablet computer

MINIMALISM: THE VALUE OF LIVING WITH LESS

While part of this growing trend toward minimalism can be attributed to the ongoing global economic recession, many people are prompted to downsize due to ecological and environmental concerns. For even more, this yearning for simplicity is about cultivating an appreciation for a life with less “stuff.”

“We bought into the media notion that money buys happiness,” said Duane Elgin, who wrote a book about the benefits of minimalism and simplicity. “We really, really tried that for couple of generations, and it didn’t work.”

On average, Australian households annually spend more than $1,226 on things that will never be used – and individually, each of us produces more than half a ton of waste each year. Not only is this unhealthy on a personal level, but it’s damaging our environment – leading more young people to search for ways to consume less.

Renting or buying smaller homes, using renewable energy sources, eating seasonally and cooking at home, and choosing to take public transportation or car-sharing networks instead of purchasing a personal vehicle are some of the ways people are starting to shift to a more sustainable, minimalist lifestyle.

“I always packed as lightly as possible, and found it exhilarating to get by with just a small carry-on bag,” said Francine Jay, an author and blogger who has been living minimally for more than a decade. “I thought, wow, if it feels this great to travel lightly, how amazing would it be to live this way? I wanted to have that same feeling of freedom in my everyday life, so I decided to get rid of all my excess possessions and live with just the essentials. I wanted to spend my time and energy on experiences, rather than things.”

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