The theory and practice of minimalism are gaining popularity amongst younger generations, who often find that having a lot of “stuff” has little bearing on their true happiness. This is essentially what minimalism is: the idea that a simpler life with fewer possessions allows us to enjoy it to a higher degree. The notion has been adopted by many people over the last few years, but retirees are just now coming on board and experiencing some fantastic results.
In some ways, retirees are the perfect candidates to try minimalism. After a long and fruitful life, most people retired with a massive collection of furniture, clothing, jewelry, electronics, art, and trinkets. It fills houses, attics, garages, and even self-storage to the brim. While technically the collection of stuff is not outright harmful, it does place a burden on its owner—the weight of which isn’t felt until they get rid of it. There are many benefits of embracing minimalism in your golden years, many of which will surprise and inspire you to start taking stock of your own hoard immediately.
By turning your home inside-out and taking inventory of all your possessions, you can get an idea of just how much stuff you have. It will probably shock you to have acquired so many items that are often impractical, and even without the intent to go truly minimalist, it’s easy to find things to get rid of. Minimalism, however, is about taking an extra step. It’s about considering each item on an individual basis before determining if it’s something that is necessary for your current lifestyle.
“Necessary” is a harsh word when describing the items in one’s possession, especially in modern times when “want” has largely suffocated the word “need” when making purchases. It becomes even more difficult with items that have sentimental meaning. Nonetheless, the benefits of adopting this new mindset are multitudinous:
Selling stuff makes money—it’s that simple. While it does take time to catalogue and determine the value of one’s old things, once the process is finished, individuals may find themselves benefiting from an enormous pay day. There are several services around today that makes this easier, even for a busy retiree. At Worthy, we empower people with a host of services that help them get a fair market price on their unwanted diamond jewelry and luxury watches.
Having more money also means a more favorable trade-off. Instead of a bunch of objects hanging around unused, you will have the excess financial power to save for the future, go on a vacation, or maybe even treat the family to a dinner or sporting event. These experiences will be remembered forever.
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It’s hard to prove that your stress level declines with the number of items in your immediate space, but it’s true. A home with less in it is easier to clean, provides less distractions and fewer reasons to stick around. When you’re retired and want to travel, having less to worry about when leaving for an extended vacation lets you enjoy it in peace.
Part of minimalizing is realizing how much of your stuff is low quality junk. Unneeded furniture, jewelry and clothing in poor repair contribute nothing to the whole picture. They cheapen the rest of your things and serve to obscure the true gems of the collection. Having fewer, higher quality things simplifies life and sets a precedent for things that need to be acquired in the future.
If you don’t sort through your various possessions before passing on, your children must do it for you. Save them the trouble by doing a deep clean while you can. It also gives you an opportunity to ensure that the items you want to leave behind in your will and trust are still there and remain in good condition.
Grandma and Grandpa’s house often conjures up images of dusty drapes, closets crammed with old trinkets, and outdated wallpaper. Rid yourself of the parts of this stereotype that apply to you. Removing and selling or donating old items helps to liken even the oldest of houses to modern design: clean lines and uncluttered surfaces. For those retirees that seek to downsize, it also helps potential home buyers visualize what they can do with the space.
This is a pretty logical benefit: less stuff can fit into a smaller space. Downsizing into a new, more retirement-appropriate home is easier when you have fewer things to take with you, and so is sticking to your lifestyle goals.
With less objects muddling your peripheral vision and taking from your precious mental capacity, it’s easier to focus on what means the most. With the money and freedom that minimalism brings to your life, you can take a hard look at what truly brings you happiness, and pursue these activities with greater vigor.
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