5 Ways to Change Your Relationship with Stuff

5 Ways to Change Your Relationship with Stuff


Minimalism isn’t about removing the things you love. It’s about removing the things that distract you from the things you love.

Joshua Becker

It’s all around us.

(Especially after the holidays.)

We accumulate it, store it, care for it. Occasionally, we use it.

It has the power to support us… or drain us.

Enhance our lives… or complicate them.

It’s stuff.

And whether you realize it or not, you’re in a relationship with yours.

Today we’re sharing 5 ways to begin changing your relationship with stuff:

1. Rethink the stuff in your home.

When you walk through your front door, how do you feel? Comforted and at ease? Stifled and on edge? Believe it or not, our physical surroundings can play a major role in our emotional well-being. So, it’s well worth the effort to look around and evaluate whether your environment supports the life you want to live.

Try this:

Edit the stuff in your home, and improve your emotional wellness in the process!

2. Give the gift of experiences.

Fresh from the holiday season, you’re likely in a state of material transition: An influx of new toys, books, games, and clothing. A pile of items awaiting donation or return. It can feel inevitable… but it isn’t! Each holiday, birthday, and special occasion is an opportunity to practice new ways of engaging with stuff. Challenge yourself to dig deeper and get creative with your gift-giving.

Try this:

Try gifting a fun or meaningful experience to someone close to you.

3. Focus on appreciation, not ownership.

Many of us accumulate items that appeal to our senses– soft clothes, beautiful art, entertaining books and so on. But, so often, we overlook the fact that we don’t actually need to own these items to appreciate them. Clothing can be admired from afar, art can be visited in museums, and books can be borrowed from the library. When you loosen your association between appreciation and ownership, you’ll start seeing new things to appreciate everywhere you look!

Try this:

Wander through a favorite shop, admiring the items on display there. Remind yourself: “I don’t have to own in order to appreciate.”

4. Deepen your understanding.

Take a closer look at your relationship with stuff, and you’ll find… it’s not really about the stuff at all. Our desire to shop, for example, is often driven by our emotional state, such as sadness, loneliness, or boredom. By bringing a greater sense of awareness to your own emotions, you’ll gain a clearer understanding of your own habits.

Try this:

When you feel the urge to shop or accumulate more things, take note of how you’re feeling in that moment.┬áLater, spend some time journaling about what you noticed.

5. Explore new sources of happiness.

From emotionally-charged marketing campaigns to our well-worn patterns of behavior, it’s easy to see why we so often look to stuff to bring us happiness. But, despite all the hype, the pleasure we experience through material possessions is usually only temporary… if we experience it at all! For lasting happiness, we need to look outside of our relationship with stuff.

Try this:

Become a student of happiness! Find out what brings joy, engagement, and meaning to your life.

En.joy this post? You might also like:

Mindfulness Basics & Benefits
The Trick Is Treating Yourself to Self-Care
How to Practice Gratitude When You’re Not Feeling Particularly Grateful

Ready to change your relationship with stuff?