To Be Happier Today, You Need to Learn That All You Need Is All You Need


Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

I wrote a while back about going from downsizing to minimalist. At one point in that article, I tried to speak to people who are still in the acquisition stage of life. I don’t know how many of that group read the article as it mostly addressed those later in life who are thinking smaller. But if that is you, please pay attention.

You know who you are. You haven’t even begun to think about downsizing. In fact, you’ve been busy upsizing. You are rising through the ranks of your career, getting bigger homes, and nicer cars.

And mostly, buying a lot of stuff. Stuff that you don’t really need. I know that’s what you are doing because that’s what I did. It’s what everybody does. You finally have a little extra money, and you see that thing on the shelf, and think, why not?

Well, I can give you one reason why not. You don’t need it. You know you don’t need it, you just don’t care. But multiply that thing by a hundred, or five hundred. And that’s what you are going to be sifting through one day deciding whether to keep it. Most likely not.

Why? Because you didn’t need it in the first place. You never used it. You never wore it. You never took it out of the drawer or closet you tossed it in. It’s possible, you never took it out of the box it came in.

So, I want to present you with a thought that will help you immensely later in life and help you every step of the way. It’s a thought you can use almost daily. You can use it every time you go into a store. You can use it as you browse online. It’s the one thought that will save you money, time, and stress.

All you need is all you need.

I know; it’s a tough concept to wrap your head around. After all, our entire society is geared toward the exact opposite. You need everything, and you need it now. You need a $2,000 watch even though it doesn’t tell time as well as a $10 Timex. You need an expensive car capable of exceeding any speed you would ever need or want to drive. You need to fill up every nook and cranny of your home, and when it is so full nothing else will fit in it, you need to buy a bigger house.

But, think about this. What would happen if you just stopped? Stopped buying things you don’t need. It’s a hard job that takes practice and vigilance until you get the hang of it. If you need something at the grocery store and it’s a buy one get one, then, by all means, get two. It’s something you use, and it cuts the price in half. But never buy something just because it’s BOGO. Then, you’re not just buying something you don’t need, you’re buying two of them.

I’d say within a year of buying your first home, you had every tool, kitchen gadget and appliance you will ever need. So when you run across the ad for that blender that can chop whole coconuts, just say no. You have a blender. It blends things. You’re set. Walking through Home Depot and spot that 400-piece toolset? Keep walking. You have a hammer, two screwdrivers, and pliers. Unless you build things or work on cars, that’s probably all you’ll ever use.

And clothes. Do you really need more? You have probably read that if you haven’t worn it in six months, get rid of it. How much of those do you own? Why did you buy it? How many shirts, slacks, shoes, do you need? Admittedly, on the fashion scale, I’m somewhere just above homeless. But I still have about fifty shirts. Most of them I never wear. Some of those I don’t wear because, well, what was I thinking? The rest I don’t wear because I wear the newer ones. But did I need new ones? If so, donate the old ones. If not, don’t buy them.

All you need is all you need.

I’m not talking about being frugal. If you want to eat filet mignon every night, go for it. But don’t buy a huge chest freezer and fill it up with steaks that will eventually get freezer burned and tossed out. You don’t need a chest freezer, and you don’t need one full of food. Unless you live near the arctic circle, you probably go to the grocery store once a week. So how much food do you need?

A week’s worth. Sure, stock up on staples if it’s on sale and something you eat regularly. But unless you are a prepper stocking up for the apocalypse, you don’t need six months’ worth of anything. Except maybe toilet paper. You never know.

Do you want some perspective on what I am trying to tell you? When your parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles get ready to downsize, go help them out. Spend the weeks with them required to get rid of all the crap they have acquired over a lifetime. Look at all the clothes they are taking to Goodwill with the tags still on them. The tools that were never used. Help them sort through their kitchen, garage, basement, and attic.

Now, think about the road you are on. I’m sure you will be amazed at the sheer volume of stuff they don’t need, but take a look at your house. Where are you on that spectrum; 10%, 25%? Now do the math. If you keep going like you are, you will match them crap for crap in a few decades.

So just stop. All you need is all you need.

Don’t try to do this all at once; it’s too hard. Try it for just a day, then a few days, then a whole week. Don’t buy anything that you don’t absolutely need right now. Pretty soon, it will become a habit.

This self-evaluation will become second nature. You will know intuitively if you really need it. It’s not about sacrifice. If you want it, get it. But will you use it? That’s the question. Think of something similar you bought six months ago you thought you wanted. Where is it? If you don’t know, then just walk away. You don’t need it.

Because all you need is all you need.

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I am a writer with over 16 years of experience and hundreds of articles. I write about photography, productivity, life skills, money management and much more.

Alpharetta, GA

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