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20 Reasons to Own Less Stuff

20 Reasons to Own Less Stuff


Decluttering is a wonderful method of removing clutter in our homes and saying goodbye to unwanted stuff. However, the real difference comes when you shift your mindset and how you think about that stuff over the long-term. Here are 20 reasons to own less stuff and why decluttering is only the first part of the story.


Decluttering is only the first part of the story. It’s the place where most people begin their journey to a simpler, more minimalist, intentional life and where you can both SEE and FEEL the biggest change in the quickest amount of time.

Yet, getting rid of some (or most) of your unwanted possessions doesn’t have to be the end of the story. 

Of course, you’re going to feel some great benefits such as more physical space and less to tidy and clear away but there are many more good reasons to follow it through and change your relationship with what you own.

Consider decluttering your home as just the first step and think about what you might gain by owning less in the longer term.


Owning less stuff in the longer term means changing the way you think about your belongings and physical stuff.

Here are some examples of stuff many of us own (or have owned):

  • A wardrobe full of clothes
  • A playroom full of toys
  • A bookcase full of books
  • A mantlepiece full of ornaments
  • A kitchen cupboard full of plates, glasses and appliances
  • A garage full of tools
  • An attic full of old baby clothes and family heirlooms

There’s nothing wrong with any of this. Clutter means different things to different people and we all use and need our stuff in different ways. For example, my husband’s DIY tools are mostly just clutter to me as I don’t know how to use them and don’t use them. But to him, they’re important and I respect that. Our home has to work and be enjoyed by all of us.

We all hold on to sentimental items sometimes because they mean something special to us. A library of books might be your most treasured possession if you’re a book worm. You might like baking, so you need a cupboard full of different sized baking trays etc.

But few of us really need all these things all at the same time, especially when you think about what this physical stuff requires from you.

Looking after your stuff requires space to store it all in. This storage costs money to buy/rent/heat/light, your time and energy to look after, tidy and clean. Not to mention what it cost you to purchase these items in the first place.

Every item in your home sends out messages – clean me, tidy me, feed me, even water me (in the case of plants)! Do you like the messages and the number of them, or do you feel you have too many messages overwhelming your brain, body and schedule? If so, maybe it’s time to consider owning less stuff.

Reasons to own less stuff


There are many benefits to owning less stuff if you change the way you think about the things you own, where you spend your money and what it costs you to look after your stuff in terms of your time and energy.

Here are some of the best reasons I’ve found to own less stuff, simplify and live a fuller life, just with less (physical) things.

1. Less stress

Scientific studies show that too much clutter negatively affects our body and brain. Clutter raises cortisol, the stress hormone, and causes distraction, lack of focus and an increase in stress and anxiety. In a nutshell, less clutter means less stress.

“Declutter your mind, your heart, your home. Let go of the heaviness that is weighing you down. Make your life simple, but significant.”

Maria Defillo

2. More space

Owning less stuff creates more physical space. You only have what you need, love or adds meaningful value to your life in some way – not just in monetary terms, but emotional and practical value too.

Owning less stuff means there’s less random clutter taking up space in your cupboards, garage, shed, drawers, on table-tops, shelves, work surfaces and of course, stacked on the floor and stairs.

Having more space might be helpful to you if your home is busy or small, or where you need more space to move around to support your health or for someone in your home that you care for (perhaps with a wheelchair or mobility aids).

You might feel you need more space if you find yourself moving paperwork so you can make dinner more easily in the kitchen or to find a place to put down your mug of tea on a table-top or move stuff before you can sit down.

Having more space helps us also to create room for exercise, or meditation or for enjoying creative hobbies and interests. Who wants to spend time moving stuff out of the way so you can do Yoga or painting?

3. More peaceful

Your home will be calmer and more peaceful because too much stuff not only clutters your space, but it becomes visually distracting and clutters the mind.

Visual clutter can stimulate and distract our brains so choosing more open spaces, clearer surfaces and lines of sight, easier flow and access through and between rooms can often create a more peaceful environment.

I’m an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) so I find the outside world a busy, noisy and overstimulating place! To help me relax and recharge, I prefer my home to be calm, peaceful and gentle to my senses so I like my space to be clutter-free, with simple accessories, a soft colour palette (apart from pops of colour for fun and interest!) and my little sanctuary from the world.

When my home is peaceful I enjoy being there more and my body and mind is more easily rested instead of stressed out!

4. Easier to find things

It’s less likely that you’ll lose something (and therefore, it’s easier to find things) if you’ve generally got less stuff. There’s less clutter to sift through so even if you’re not the most neat and organised person, you’ll still be able to find things quicker.

And, speaking of organisation, don’t forget it’s always better to declutter first then organise. Otherwise you’ll just be organising your clutter!

Declutter first, then not only can you see exactly what you’ve got to organise and perhaps what organisation systems you need to find or buy, but you might even discover that you don’t need so much storage as you thought!

Just a little tip – If you find yourself buying or needing more storage furniture than you needed before, it could be a sign that it’s time to declutter!

5. Increases productivity and efficiency

Owning less stuff helps us be more productive and efficient, less distracted and more focused.

Less stuff is easier to organise so you won’t waste so much time trying to find things!

Your desk might be tidier, your computer less cluttered with unsorted files and folders, your email inbox better managed and less scary with too many unwanted or unread emails, even your paperwork decluttered and filed so you can lay your hands on it quickly when you need it.

You might enjoy this article on how decluttering boosts productivity for some more tips and ideas.

6. Easier to look after

A decluttered home is much easier to look after and maintain. If there’s less stuff then it’s quicker to tidy up, clear things away, clean and generally keep on top of, especially if you’ve put some simple household routines in place.

This was one of the main reasons I chose to simplify and declutter my own home and owning less stuff still pays off as I spend less time cleaning and more time doing activities I enjoy more!

I also found that my family is more able to help me with chores and housework as it’s quicker and easier for them to put stuff away, vacuum floors, dust surfaces and more when there’s less stuff. I think it’s because it requires less effort and thinking so they can get it over and done with more quickly and move onto things they’d prefer to be doing!

Here are some other tips on how to encourage your kids to help with chores or this article on how to help kids and teenagers keep their room clean and tidy.

20 reasons to own less stuff

7. Ready for visitors

If your home is easier to look after and has less clutter, then it’s easier to keep it looking neat, tidy and ready if a visitor drops by. Although I’m sure our guests visit to see us, it’s difficult not to worry about what our friends and family think about our home and how well we look after it!

However, if your home is pretty much clutter-free then all it takes is a quick reset to get your home ready should anyone drop by for coffee!

This could also be another reason to create some good decluttering habits so the clutter never really gets a chance to build up.

8. Live in a smaller house

When you own less stuff you might not need such a big home, or even pay for extra storage facilities. This might cost less to buy/rent and run, which means you could save some money. But, it’s also less space to clean and tidy which means more time and energy for other things that matter more.

9. You’ll spend less

When you get used to living with less stuff and become more intentional and aware about what you let into your home, then you’ll probably find you spend less money on stuff that you don’t really need or want.

Instead of being swayed by the stores and sales, you might think twice before you make a quick impulse purchase.

Your shopping habits might shift and instead of buying physical items you may decide to invest in experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.

10. More focus on quality over quantity

Deliberately owning less stuff isn’t about never buying anything new. It’s fun to go shopping and sometimes we do run out of things. Not going shopping isn’t realistic or practical!

However, thinking about the reasons to own less stuff does encourage you to think carefully about what you have and invest in your purchases wisely and wherever possible. For example, buy one good quality sweater that will keep its shape for years rather than several cheaper ones which will bobble and sag after a few wears.

“Buy less, choose well, make it last.”

Vivienne Westwood
20 reasons to own less stuff

11. Encourages gratitude

Modern life encourages us to DO, WANT and BE more and often we’re led to believe that the secret to this ‘more, more, more’ culture is to have yet more stuff.

However, more stuff doesn’t necessarily lead to true happiness and success. Sometimes it also just contributes to lack of space and calm in our homes, less money in our bank accounts and more stress for our minds.

“We go on multiplying our conveniences only to multiply our cares. We increase our possessions only to the enlargement of our anxieties.”

Anna C. Brackett

Gratitude is a powerful practice teaching us to acknowledge what we have, be thankful and not to take things for granted. Owning less physical stuff helps us be grateful for what we have in every sense, not just for the stuff that takes up space in our homes.

12. More time

A decluttered home is easier to look after which means you have more time for other things – playing with the kids, learning a new skill, reading a book, making the most of every day and appreciating the joy in the quiet moments of life.

13. More freedom

With more time comes more freedom. You have more freedom to choose what you want to do, when you want to do it. You’re less tied to looking after your stuff, finding money to buy it and a home to keep it.

“Some things cost way more when we keep them.”

Neeraj Agnhotri

14. Set a great example for your children

When we learn to appreciate what we have and place less value on our possessions then we set a powerful example to our kids. We are showing them to be grateful for what we have, prioritise experiences over material things, stop attaching importance and status to physical stuff. Be grateful for all that money can’t ever buy over the temptation of what it can.

20 reasons to own less stuff

15. Start living in the present

When our homes are full of sentimental items from times gone by you can end up living in the past. We forget that our home and our life are for living in and enjoying right now.

Practice the art of self-acceptance for things that can’t be changed or that have passed, be present for your life, have what you need right now and find ways to remember the old days without adding to the clutter.

I’m totally aware that this is incredibly tough for many, for those who have lost a loved one and are struggling with grief, for those that mourn the loss of friends and family as time marches on, or even for lifestyles that we lived but now can’t, for whatever reason, so…

Be kind to yourself as you look around your home now. Memories are important, and sometimes our stuff helps those memories stay vivid and real. Sometimes they hold us back from enjoying the gift of life now. It’s up to each of us to decide what this means for ourselves.

If this is a topic that you struggle with you, here are a couple of articles which might help.

16. Stop comparing

Comparison is the thief of joy so perhaps it’s time to stop making yourself miserable and start living your own life rather than measuring the size of your car or the size of your wardrobe with others.

Whilst getting inspiration from others and looking up to people you admire is part of self-improvement, determining your success and fulfilment in life through material stuff may not be the most helpful or encouraging unit of measurement!

Just a little side note which I share to help – I know that, for me, social media is a fuel for my own comparison game. I look at beautiful homes, perfect lifestyles. Of course they’re not, they’re curated for social media feeds like that and rarely show the full, in real life, story so for my own mental health, I tend to stay away from social media as much as possible. Maybe you might want to do the same?

“Purposefully owning less begins to take us out of the unwinnable game of comparison.”

Joshua Becker

17. Contribute to good causes

Deciding where you spend your money is, of course, up to you but I feel better when I give a little bit of money each month to a charity I love if and when I can afford it. It doesn’t have to be a lot but I’d prefer to do that than buying a top I wear once, that I don’t really need and then wish I hadn’t bought.

18. Better for the environment

If you stop buying stuff, there’s less packaging and less production. A minimalist lifestyle that encourages more mindful consumption and spending has many benefits for the environment. It reduces our carbon footprint and generates less waste. Owning less stuff helps the planet.

19. Live intentionally

When you make a conscious decision to own less, what you do buy and keep in your life takes on more importance because every item counts. These decisions mean you live life intentionally, purposefully crafting a life that makes you happy and fulfilled without needing stuff to do that for you.

I’ve found that owning less stuff means I can focus more on my self-care, personal growth, connection and building strong relationships whilst feeling more in control and generally less stressed out!

20. Be happier

Owning less stuff makes you happier because of all the reasons I’ve just listed. When much of life feels tough or difficult, having a home that’s easier to run and is welcoming and relaxing to live in, feels so important.

Try it for yourself and see what a difference it makes to not just declutter but actually own less stuff.

“Having more and more won’t solve the problem, and happiness does not lie in possessions, or even relationships: The answer lies within ourselves. If we can’t find peace and happiness there, it’s not going to come from the outside.”

Tenzin Palmo


Decluttering is a great first step to a more minimalist and intentional life, but it needn’t stop there. Placing less importance on our belongings and physical stuff and focusing more on the other aspects of a happier, fuller life is the ultimate goal.

There are lots of benefits to owning less whilst doing and living more. By changing your relationship with physical possessions, you can create opportunities for so much else. Why not give it a go!

I’d love to know whether you’ve explored decluttering and simplifying your stuff. Did you find it difficult to get started? How has your home or life changed since having less inventory and stuff to manage? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Reasons to own less stuff


If you’d like to explore a life with less stuff, here are some resources which you might find helpful:

  • How to Declutter your Home and Life – Clearing clutter is often the first step to creating a simpler life, with more time, more ease and less stress. Decluttering isn’t always easy but this guide provides some helpful tips on how to declutter your home and life and make space for what matters most to you.
  • How to Become A Minimalist and 7 Easy Ways To Start Today – A minimalist lifestyle is about clearing the clutter from your home, heart and mind to create space for the things which really matter to you. In practice, it can be a little daunting if you don’t know where to begin. For some helpful tips and a guide to the minimalist lifestyle, check out this post on how to become a minimalist and 7 easy ways to start today.
  • The Clutter Cycle: 5 Tips to Help You Break the Cycle of Clutter – Do you declutter but then find your home fills up again with stuff so you have to declutter again? Does the cycle of clutter repeat itself and bring down your motivation and energy levels at the same time? If this sounds familiar then you may be trapped in the clutter cycle. Here are 5 tips to help you break the cycle of clutter and stay clutter-free!
  • Living With a Hoarder? What to Do When Clutter Causes Tension at Home – Do you prefer clutter-free spaces and want to enjoy the benefits of a decluttered home? What happens when you’re living with a hoarder and dealing with clutter in your home is stressful and difficult? Here are some tips on what to do when clutter causes tension at home.
  • Decluttter Starter Kit – A free workbook to help you understand your own relationship with clutter, clear that clutter and keep it away!


I’m Antonia and on this blog I share practical inspiration to simplify your home, time and life. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest! You can also subscribe to Balance Through Simplicity and receive regular simplicity tips straight to your inbox for free. Make sure you never miss an article plus you’ll get a copy of my free Declutter Starter Kit as a welcome gift!

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20 reasons to own less stuff

Deborah Dimaggio

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Thankyou. I have so much i will need one day. Lol. Thanks for teaching me a way and reason to declutter

Balance Through Simplicity

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Hi Deborah, I'm so glad my post has helped a little. Good luck!