“Minimalism isn’t about removing the things you love. It’s about removing the things that distract you from the things you love.” ~Joshua Becker
As a digital nomad for the past few years, I had the opportunity to spend a month in Canada, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka. As I didn’t have a home base and only had one medium-sized suitcase with me (still do), I couldn’t really afford to buy new things.
You mean that I’d need them to be somewhere. My suitcase weighs in at over 45 pounds, while some airlines allow for 50.
Even when I had to go back to my home country and stay there for almost a year because of the pandemic, I knew I’d be on the road again as soon as possible. I didn’t buy any other essential items, so I kept my budget low.
Although I have never been a shopping addict, I felt very unhappy wearing clothes that were more than a few years old. I also saw my friends and social media influencers who regularly bought new items.
I didn’t realize that more often than not we only buy things to fill a void or to relieve stress, not necessarily because we actually need or even want them. As soon as I figured that out, I started looking for alternative ways to fill my days with joy that didn’t involve buying new stuff.
Today I want to share four things that I’m buying now when I want to feel better, which don’t occupy any space in my suitcase!
1. Online courses
Maybe it’s just me, but courses that teach me new skills are my favorite things ever! He knows it’s a great gift!
I have a ton of hobbies and things that I’m interested in, and each of them could become a full-time thing if I wanted it to. You can never run out of knowledge.
Last year, I took several courses in photography. My first was mobile photography. Then, normal photography followed and finally, videography. Many related subjects were covered, including video and photo editing. I also explored stock photography.
This year I’m learning digital illustration. YouTube and Skillshare have become my best friends. They are probably the top two websites I visit in my spare time, if I had to keep track of my internet activity. It just makes me so happy to ace a new thing I couldn’t imagine creating before!
Honestly, I could never understand people who get bored staying alone at home and don’t know what to do. I wish that there were more hours in my day to cover all of the subjects I’d like to study.
It is a good idea to invest in yourself. Your new skills could prove useful for your journey through life.
You might say that it’s easy to find new experiences when you are traveling, and that’s true. Walking tours are a common activity, as well as classes in cooking. I also find out what my next country offers.
But if you think I didn’t invest in experiences when I wasn’t a nomad, you are wrong.
Escape rooms were my favorite. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, it’s a quest where you go into a room full of hints and puzzles, solving which leads you to the next one, and so on until the final thing gives you a key or something to escape the room. There is usually a theme to the room. You only have one hour for escape.
My friends and I visited every single room in the city, many times together over the years. Some were very easy; some were so hard that we didn’t get out on time. The one that was darkest I can remember and the other where you had to remove the chains from your wrists and ankles.
The feeling of nailing another quest room can hardly compare to anything else; it’s like actually being in an adventurous book for an hour. You know I’m talking to you if you are a geek and avid reader.
Meaningful experiences build relationships and foster memories. Are you able to recall every shirt that you have bought? Or do you reminisce with your friends about them? It’s doubtful!
3. Small gifts for your friends
This is where you may actually be able buy something physical.
Instead of it gathering dust in your closets, give it away. Your friend is happy, you are happy, and your home doesn’t get cluttered. Not bad, huh?
Just make sure to only buy things your loved ones actually want so they don’t start hating you for cluttering their home. Even if your friend is minimalist.
You want to learn my method for giving great gifts every time? My wishlists work!
One I’ve had for years and one I gave to all my family and friends. While not everyone is comfortable with the idea of getting presents, they love receiving specific gifts. And don’t worry, it can still be a surprise, especially if their wishlist is long enough.
To support the idea of having less stuff, encourage your friends to add items to their wishlists that aren’t physical things. About two-thirds of my own wishlist consists of specific online courses I’d love to take, new experiences I wish to try one day, and gift cards for fun things like massages and yoga classes.
People usually have a clear idea of what they desire in terms of hobbies or lifestyle. A wishlist is a great way to get started. Without it, unless you know for sure all the details, it’s easy to gift someone a book they already have or a course that is too beginner-oriented (or too advanced) for their level. Gift cards to your favorite online store and learning platform are an option if they have questions.
You don’t have to wait until a holiday, birthday or other special occasion to gift someone a present.
Unexpected gifts are the best. Surprise your friend by surprising them with something that they don’t need. You will be amazed at how happy they are! This will help them feel appreciated and loved.
For you, finding the perfect gift for your friend and watching them enjoy it can release dopamine, endorphins and make you happier. Win-win!
eBooks are the last item on my list.
I used to be the type of person who could read more than 100 books per year. Now I travel with my tiny Kindle and am more mindful about what I’m reading.
Despite all that, I love the feel of turning pages and the scent of books! I do still own a handful of my favorites bookmarks. But I only buy digital books as it would be impossible to travel with “real” ones. I wish I had Hermione’s handbag with an extension charm on it, but sadly I don’t.
I know many people these days don’t read books. The internet has made it easy for us to access a wide variety of visual content. Books have become passé. Reading still offers many health benefits, including improving vocabulary and concentration and releasing anxiety and stress that are a daily problem for most people.
A book will be the only thing that can distract you from your daily worries and routines. Although it may be small in size, there is a lot of information inside.
These were my four things to buy that won’t ever clutter your life! These items might make you more confident, smarter and happier. This is a great deal. Especially for things that don’t take up any space.
I hope you can agree with me now that it’s possible to live happily without buying new stuff all the time. While I don’t consider myself a minimalist by any means, it is something I enjoy. I prefer to surround myself with the things that give me joy rather than cluttering my life with stuff that brings you instant satisfaction and then gets forgotten.
Enjoy learning and having fun. Your memories and skills are something you will always be able to take along wherever you go.
UtterlyPositive.com was founded by Juliet Dreamhunter. With her 2500+ affirmations, she helps others build and maintain a positive mindset. Juliet enjoys coloring in the digital shop, and can also be found there with stress relief and relaxation pages.
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Tiny Buddha’s post How to Live a Happy Life Without Needing to Buy Lots of Stuff originally appeared on Tiny Buddha.