We often confuse material possessions with bliss – more clothes, more shoes, loads of cosmetics, a house full of artifacts , a kitchen full of dishes all are supposed to add value to life. Instead, what we end up with is a mass of clutter and chaos.
I often meet people living in huge houses with each member of the family having his own bedroom, walk-in closet, shelves and what not, yet complaining about lack of space. The solution lies in getting rid of stuff that no longer “spark joy” (as Marie “Konmari” Kondo would say) and thinking twice or even thrice before buying anything.
Less is more
At this point I am not talking about whether the stuff is expensive or not. It’s just about stuff in general. How often have we walked into a dollar store to pick up a cartload of junk just because it’s “just $1 each” ?
In fact in many cases it’s better to buy one expensive thing that “sparks joy in you” rather than a bunch of cheap knick knacks . However, buying expensive branded stuff for keeping up with the Jones is a whole new story.
The menace of consumerism
American society thrives on consumerism which is most evident during the holiday season. I was at the mall recently and there were big flashy “SALE” signs on almost every window. Most of the signs were misleading, yet it was hard not to be tempted to buy stuff that I hardly needed to add to my already cluttered closet. While shopping most of the time we are lured to buy what we want rather than what we need.
I sometimes feel guilty for repeatedly turning down my friends’ offers to go the mall “just to check out what’s out there” but I know it inevitably means more unnecessary stuff and waste of precious time which could be utilized in much better ways.
Experiences over possessions
If I can survive through the winter with 3 coats instead of buying a fourth one, why not save the bucks to donate to a charity, go on vacation, take up an educational course or pursue a hobby? In my opinion, meaningful and memorable experiences are much more worthwhile than material possessions.
Easier Cleaning and Organizing
Lesser stuff also means a more organised, easy to clean home with all my stuff in sight rather than tucked in some corner where I will hardly even remember that I have it.
If you are the sort who needs to move from one house to another often, a minimalist lifestyle makes the task much more easier.
According to a hadith the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The most beloved places on Earth to Allah are its mosques, and the most despised places on Earth to Allah are its markets.” [Sahîh Muslim]
They are despised because nothing but the dunya (worldly pleasures) motivates people to enter therein. It’s just about giving and taking–based on a mutual exchange–not a means to help people, do something out of happiness, etc. It’s all about earning capital.
Let’s remember that we will be answerable to Allah Subhan Wa Ta’ala for each and every possession on the Day of Judgement.
Focus on what matters
Simplifying our lives by getting rid of clutter also makes us more grateful for what we possess and actually use what we possess. It also helps us to focus on things that should matter the most to us – remembrance of Allah Subhan Wa Ta’ala, personal growth, spending time with loved loves and making memories. Those are the “things” that we can never have enough of !