Owning less: How to gain control

Owning less: How to gain control
Rather than making ends meet, work on having fewer ends.

During this first series, we will outline some of the main ways minimalist thinking can be applied to everyday life.  Whether it’s money, meal plans or muscles, balance has always been associated with a healthy lifestyle, and deploying the concept of less is no different.  A key component of reaching any equilibrium state is finding the calmness that comes with control, so let’s start with how this emerges from an essential minimalist concept: owning less.


A term composed by James Wallman in his brilliant book, ‘stuffocation’ perfectly describes the way our material consumption can end up consuming ourselves.  Problems are prescribed with possessions, and control can be lost to the pursuit of materialistic highs.

There should be no self-blame or shame in reaching a point of stuffocation, for we are all pushed towards it by society.  The media controls our cravings, marketing dominates our desires, and manufacturers wield our wants.  In a world where more is always better, we can never have ‘enough’.  How then, do we take back control?

In a world where more is always better,
we can never have ‘enough’.


Empowerment is one of the greatest potentials in the concept of less.  By owning less ‘stuff’, we begin to slowly untangle ourselves from the net of consumerism.  If capitalism is about creating more choice, then surly adding less as an option is further empowering that selection.

A key element of control to be gained therefore, is control over choice.  The fewer material things we own, the more clarity we gain over what is really a need, want or desire.  With a clearer mind, the persistent promotions seem less enticing, and the cuffs of consumerism will gradually loosen to set us free.

With fewer possessions, unsurprisingly, comes greater order.  Less stuff to tidy and things to store means wherever we are, home, work, travelling, life becomes easier to manage.  Order brings more time, space and simplicity, which ultimately, again, lead to clarity and control.  Control over the environment around us, wherever that might be, helps maintain balance.

What is really a need, want or desire?


From less, can come control, one of the first essential steps towards achieving balance in our lives.  Once established, we can apply this discipline elsewhere without even realising.  Like being aware of when change is required, because we all need variety in our routines to save us from boredom.

This can be applied on any scale, from owning fewer cars to balance our carbon footprint, to owning fewer jumpers to balance our wardrobe.  It’s all relative to the individual, and what we feel needs controlling in our life. What could be achieved through the power of less, what do you need to balance?

For more minimalist thinking, exploring the power of less through topics like lifestyle, economy, travel and more, sign up for future series and exclusive content. Join the journey.

Delight – Small is beautiful.