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Benefits of Downsizing: Why Millennials Are Turning to Minimalism

Benefits of Downsizing

The minimalism lifestyle movement has been around for decades. However, it’s regaining popularity with millennials for a variety of reasons, including saving money and reducing expenses. Downsizing provides many benefits in addition to creating an uncluttered space.

The topic of millennials downsizing has been buzzing for years on a variety of high profile news sites and television programs, including "The Wall Street Journal," "TIME" and "Bloomberg." Living on less, reducing waste and saving money for experiences rather than stuff are all popular movements with young adults.

Why Do Millennials Like Minimalism?

Millennials were the first generation that straddles both a world without smartphones and one with. They were born after the technological revolution but they want more intimate connections with their peers than some might think.

Around 28% of new job postings are remote, meaning workers can take their offices anywhere in the world. The cost of housing is up and the supply of real estate inventory is low. The ability to move at a moment’s notice requires having less stuff so they can jump on that great tiny house deal or move to a new apartment with better amenities.

The popularity of minimalism amongst millennials makes sense when you think about the impact of the Great Resignation, people needing the ability to move freely and quickly and the rising cost of everything.

For most young people, doing more with less makes perfect sense and may even rub off on other generations around them. The positive effects of downsizing include:

1. Zero Waste

Many millennials drive the movement toward zero waste. In order to reduce your carbon footprint and have no impact on the environment, you must cut back on how much stuff you buy and the resulting processes used to mass manufacture items and their impact on the planet.

When you live without a bunch of “stuff,” you can clearly see where resources go and how to use less of them. Even things such as too many house plants can result in water waste unless you come up with a solution such as adding rain barrels to your outdoor garden to collect water.

2. Fewer Chores

Going minimalist with your home also lightens the load of chores and house cleaning. For example, larger homes require more time and upkeep. If you’re trying to keep life simple, then a small home means you can clean it in half the time, you need half the furnishings and you spend less to heat and cool the space.

Freeing up your schedule helps reduce stress and gives you time to pursue hobbies or starting your own business. You might go back to school or volunteer for a local cause you care about.

3. More Spontaneity

Young people often value the ability to jump at new opportunities. For example, if a job offer in France suddenly falls in your lap, you can more easily sell fewer items and be on your way to a new adventure.

Alternatively, if you’re living minimalistically, you may be able to afford to live in France for a time and return after a year or so with all your possessions and home waiting for you. Less stuff means lower costs and less aggravation. You’ll have the freedom to do what you want when you want when you don’t overfill your life with clutter.

4. Freeing Up Space

Have you ever been in a space that is filled in every corner with stuff and things overflowing onto tables, out of closets and filling every square inch of every wall? Just dealing with dusting all those things can be exhausting.

When you cut out all but what you must have, you free up space and your time. You’ll no longer have to spend precious minutes dusting all those picture frames and what knots. Your space will naturally feel larger without so many items filling it.

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5. Better Priorities

The arrival of the pandemic in 2020 drove a lot of young people to rethink their life priorities. A majority of jobs lost during COVID-19 was due to people having to balance work and other life duties. For example, their children were home from school and someone had to be with them to ensure they finished elearning and stayed at grade level.

Fears of growing sick and losing loved ones always made millennials stop and think about what was most important. When you cut out all the noise, the stuff, the big houses with more space than you need and the jobs that suck the very lifeblood from your veins, you’re left with only what truly matters.

Downsizing creates a similar focus. You’ll only keep what you must. You’ll lose the things that don’t matter. You’ll wind up with only what is a priority in your life. 

6. Setting a Good Example

Another reason many millennials turn to a simpler way of life is to set a good example for others. Their children or parents are watching their actions. When they give up all the extras, they show it can be done and one can still be happy or perhaps even happier than before.

Cutting out clutter isn’t always easy. Some people worry they’ll need something they got rid of or that they’re donating or giving it away too cheaply based on its value. However, once you’ve downsized, you’ll be able to offer advice to others on how to do the same.

7. Meeting Financial Goals

Some millennials turn to downsizing as a way to meet the rising cost of housing and basic needs. For example, the cost of a three bedroom, two bathroom home in an urban area may be out of the price range most young workers can afford, especially when you factor in the down payment.

However, if the person downsizes their expectations and buys either a smaller home or a fixer upper, they can afford much more and get in a house faster. Buying less stuff also means they can save more toward that hefty initial down payment they need in a tight real estate market, where many lose out on the home of their dreams because of bidding wars or buyers with all cash offers.

Does the Minimalism Lifestyle Movement Make You Happier?

Those who’ve embraced the power of downsizing would argue that minimalism makes you more satisfied with what you have and less focused on material goods. Happiness isn’t always tied into the biggest house, the newest vehicle or designer clothes.

While having those things is nice, it isn’t necessary for living a highly productive and satisfactory life. Instead, focus on the things crucial to meeting your dreams and cut the clutter everywhere else.

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