Less Is More – How to Find Happiness with Fewer Things

We live busy lives usually packed to the brim with work, school, family, home, errands, and the list goes on and on.  When we consider the old adage “less is more”, we might find it useful to take a second look at our day to day lives and start doing less to live more.

Less is more is a minimalist style of thinking and doing. Whether it’s your house and belongings, work and time commitments, or friendships and relationships.  Incorporating this method into our lives takes examining how we do things, removing what no longer serves us, and finding what matters most.

Have you ever wondered what your day would look like if you could do more with less?  Would you believe you can be happier and less stressed if you incorporate “less is more” in your life?

What Is Less Is More?

To begin with, less and more are antonyms: that is they have completely opposite meanings.  So this is confusing to some, because how could less be more?  It’s not about quantity but quality.  Less is more is a minimalist approach-it’s more important to have meaningful, useful things than a whole bunch of excessive items.

Minimal sitting area - Less Is More - Gone Minimal
Minimal sitting area

Benefits of Less Is More

When we use the focus of less is more, there are many benefits.  We can use this in many different areas of our lives, not just belongings.  Why would we go this route?

  • We change our attention to the things that really matter.
  • We have less clutter.
  • There’s less cleaning to do.
  • There’s more time.
  • We create more space.
  • We can be happier.
  • There’s more freedom.
  • We can focus more on what we enjoy.
  • There’s potential for more peace of mind.

There are so many benefits of less is more, especially when we look at the different areas where we can implement this practice.  Let’s start with what we can do every day to see what less is more looks like.

By embracing less is more and removing unnecessary complexities, we can focus on what truly matters. We can find clarity in our thoughts and efforts, allowing more meaningful connections with the essentials in life. Less is more is a philosophy that improves our decision-making skills and helps us develop into more confident and less wasteful individuals.

Everyday Examples of Less Is More

There are many things we do day in and day out that can take up too much time.  I’m sure there are some things you do that you don’t need to or don’t want to-that are consuming your time daily.  Here are some examples:

  • Spend less time on social media, and you create more time to do what you enjoy.
  • Donate some of your clothing to create more closet space.
  • Take a look at where you’re spending money, and cut back to save more money.
  • Eat less junk and you’ll most likely have more energy-and feel better!
  • Work smart, not hard.  You will have more time, more energy, and be more productive.
  • Don’t add apps to your smartphone-they only lead to spending more time on your phone.  Less apps leads to more free time.

But it doesn’t stop there. This concept can be applied to more focused areas that we will cover next.

Person productively working - Less Is More - Gone Minimal
Person productively working

Areas of Less Is More

Less Is More in Architecture – This is a modern style approach to buildings and homes.  Simple lines, simple designs, and keeping with the bare essentials.  There’s really no need for fancy carved pillars, intricate designs on stairs and bannisters, or even wet bars and complicated closets.  All one really needs is functional space and a place to be safe.

Less Is More in Art – Whether it’s paintings or sculptures, this refers to simple designs and colors as well as structures.  It reduces distractions and is easier on the eyes as there’s usually less to look at and interpret.  Some examples would include a painting of a bowl of fruit versus a picture of a large crowd of people in the middle of Central Park.

Less Is More in Physical Possessions – The minimalist approach is infamous for less “stuff”, which leaves room for so much more.  Fewer clothing items mean more closet space.  Fewer decorations and knick knacks means less cleaning and more free time.  Less buying of stuff leads to more money saved!

Less Is More in Relationships – Sometimes we need to figure out just how involved in someone else’s life we want or need to be.  Sharing thoughts and feelings and personal information is good to a point, but it’s not necessary to share absolutely everything.  Sharing less can mean more in a relationship, because it helps your partner make some of their own decisions and you maintain your individuality. 

This can refer to time spent together as well less time together can feel like more when it’s done with more meaning.  You don’t have to spend every waking moment together. Absence really can make the heart grow fonder!

Couple holding hands - Less Is More - Gone Minimal
Couple holding hands

Less Is More in Time Commitments – We don’t always know exactly how long things will take, and we can’t always manage time.  We can manage our time commitments to maximize our time.  Less time commitments means more time for what we really want or need to do-the things that are our purpose.  Commit wisely!

Less time commitments means more time for what we really want or need to do-the things that are our purpose.

Less Is More in Business – Especially if you are starting or running your own company, this is an important piece that can help you be more successful.  When you know what your customers are like and want to buy, you provide less of what they’re not buying and your company saves money.  Also if you look at the services you are using for your business, you may find that some services are not necessary and can be provided by an internal employee or group. 

This can also save your business more money.  Then depending upon what your business is defined by, providing less services or products can streamline your business and bring you more customers, more customer satisfaction, and of course more money!

Less Is More in Making Plans – We can make plans to a fault in some cases, like planning out every minute during a vacation.  Plans like birthday parties, nights out on the town, and even life plans need to have some wiggle room for when things don’t work out the way we thought they would. 

I don’t know about you but when I plan too much and things don’t work I feel disappointment.  When we make less plans, we leave more room for opportunity and adventure!

How to Achieve Less Is More

Think of all of the things you do every day-cleaning, cooking, texting, working, childcare, driving, eating, etc.  How can we do less of these things, but have more?  Let’s look at some ways you can streamline and pare down to achieve less is more:

Start with your morning coffee.  Ditch the barista and make coffee at home!  Less driving, less time waiting, more money and time saved!

Next, pack your lunch for work or school instead of going to the cafeteria or sandwich shop.  No waiting in line, pack what you want, more time to eat and more money saved!

Speaking of work or school, spend your time more wisely.  Less time postponing tasks and assignments and getting them done helps you save time, work more efficiently, and be more productive.

Then there’s errands to be run-pare them down to save time and gas.  Instead of going to three different stores to get exactly the name brands or products you want, be flexible and try new products.  This can lead to running less errands in less different stores-more time and potentially more money saved.

How about cleaning?  Rather than taking all of it on yourself, delegate to your partner and children to share in the responsibility.  This saves you some time and effort, and teaches your children life skills and helps them develop pride in their work.

Here is an insightful video on looking into how truly less is more:

Less is More Examples – From Real People

I asked 5 family and friends in a poll what top 4 areas of life they can reduce things to practice less is more (relationships, to-do’s, commitments, clothing, possessions, etc.) to be happier, enjoying less is more. Here is what they shared and what I learned:

Area of Life To Reduce$ of Family and Friends
Work hours4
Fast food/eating out3
Social media4
Video games2
Watching/reading news3

Other Resources:

More of things is not always a good thing, as we’ve seen here.  When we look at less is more, we can see that many things are better in smaller quantities.  From possessions to architecture, work to relationships, when we focus on the things that really matter and streamline our tasks, we free up time to enjoy and work on ourselves which really is better with more.

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