Our American forefathers stepped from their ships onto this land, with hardly a possession in hand, and they built a great nation. What is even more impressive is that they didn’t even need a Walmart to do it. Sadly, American culture has become transformed into an obsessive consumerist society. Just walking into an American store screams, “Help! I’ve lost my identity in all of this clutter!” Is the amount of stuff that people accumulate entirely necessary?
Why Do We Do It?
Why do Americans feel the utter desire to buy and buy until they can’t cram anything else into their houses? Perhaps it’s because our holidays practically force us to spend money on gifts. Maybe our large houses encourage us to fill up the empty spaces with furniture, decorations, and various nick-knacks. It could be the abundance of commercial advertisements we are bombarded with on a daily-basis. In any case, it is quite likely that excessive consumerism is simply America’s expression of wealth.
Why is Consumerism Unhealthy?
I won’t go as far as to say that excessive consumerism makes us forget about what is important in life, but I will say that it makes us forget how to enjoy the things that truly matter. As a child I clearly remember my dad tiredly walking down the driveway to rake the gravel out after a heavy rain. As he picked up the rake, he turned to me and said, “Maybe, if I didn’t have all of this stuff to take care of, I could sit on the porch and enjoy the sunset.”
Becoming a minimalist can bring about a refreshing new sense of freedom. Sell some of those old appliances that just add hassle to your life. Better yet, donate them to your local thrift store. If your closet is busting at the seams, pick out the items you actually wear and sell the rest in a yard sale!
The accumulation of materialistic possessions adds responsibility, time, money, and stress to peoples’ lives and yet they continue to lust after the unnecessary clutter. If you don’t actually need the item (and think carefully about the word, “need”), then don’t feel impulsed to buy it.
Becoming a minimalist may sound like an intimidating idea, but having less junk in your life will cut down on the things that distract you from your job and your family. Having less stuff to take care will allow you more time for things like helping your children with their homework or taking the dog on a walk.
It is surprising how little we actually need to be happy, especially when it comes to material items. You may not have the desire to de-clutter your house down to the bare bones, but remember that life isn’t about having stuff, it’s about having just enough to live without discomfort!