August 31


Exploring Minimalism: Why Getting Rid of Stuff Won’t Make You Happy

By Peter Julian

By removing clutter, minimalism is supposed to lead to a more meaningful life. However, it doesn’t appear to have lived up to its promise. Inspired by the trend, I tried decluttering my own life. It felt good for a while, but soon felt empty. It seems this was just retail therapy in reverse. It isn’t clear that reducing clutter and building a purposeful life are at all related. A theory called the hedonic treadmill claims that short-term gains have little or no long-term impact. People’s lives usually end up reverting to normal even after a big event. The key to building a truly meaningful life is to form intimate relationships and to engage in purposeful activities.

Key Takeaways:

  • Minimalism seems like reverse retail therapy, where getting rid of (rather than acquiring) stuff doesn’t make us any happier.
  • Research has shown that after big events, life usually just reverts back to “normal” again.
  • A meaningful life is based on intimate relationships, a healthy lifestyle, and purposeful activities.

“Minimalism is the lifestyle of removing the clutter from one’s life to make room for meaningful living. This can be in the form of paring down the stuff one already owns, forging new consumption habits to reduce the inflow of new clutter into one’s life, or some combination of the two.”

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