A Calm-Seeker’s Guide To Understanding Needs Vs. Wants

rolling pallet coffee table with plants on top

In life, there are needs, and then there are wants. Discovering the difference between the two can lead to a liberating feeling that brings peace to your heart and mind, as you’ll learn below:

Perhaps you’ve heard about the movement that’s catching fire called Minimalism, which is becoming about as popular as shiplap! Minimalism is as simple as the name implies, a soulful way of taking a step back, assessing your surroundings and deciding if what you have around you are things you actually need or just things you want, which in fact are things you can live without. Reaching this decluttering conclusion – for instance, deciding that you no longer want those four pairs of nearly identical sling-back sandals – can not only free up space in your closet, but also lead to a calm life.

Determining Needs vs. Wants

So what exactly is the difference between needs and wants? Some needs are obvious. We need a place to live. We need food. Your neighbors would appreciate it if you consider wearing clothes as a need. Basic needs like these are generally non-negotiable, so you do not need to do away with them in the name of minimalism and decluttering.

Needs can often be drilled down into two categories: things that we require to live, like food and a roof over our heads, and things that we require in order to live a comfortable life that suits us. This latter category can be thought of as “things we value.” So, while you may not technically need a car to live, the idea of walking the kids to soccer practice is a non-starter, so that car’s as much a requirement as is tonight’s dinner.

Wants, on the other hand, are things we desire because we like them. There are two types of wants: there are the things we want that genuinely add to our lives – for example, that first windbreaker you bought at the start of the fall — and then there are the things we want but that don’t truly benefit us at all – like, the second, third and fourth jacket you’ve managed to pick up over the past few months! We may think certain items will make us happy, but in many cases we can live and function perfectly well without them.

When Wants Become Problematic

There is room to indulge in wants, of course, but we should only indulge in things that add value to our lives. It is very easy to add clutter to our lives these days, with the ease of online shopping, low prices in stores, and friends and family who like to gift items we may not necessarily pick out on our own. The result is that we get overloaded with objects, leaving little room for the things that actually add value to our lives.

Fortunately, once we understand the difference between needs and wants – between life essentials and hearts desires – we can curate our belongings in a more minimalist way, in a rational and detached fashion. By committing to decluttering in this way, we can hopefully find more calmness in our lives.

back of woman looking out at sunny forest

It may not be a fast process. It takes time to go through our possessions, but it is well worth doing because the goal is emotional and physical freedom. Emotional and physical freedom should go on the list of things that we need.

Decluttering Your Way to Freedom

Often, it isn’t the things that we own that cause us emotional trouble; it’s the emotions that come with having a space full of items to which we find ourselves attached but that we don’t truly need or love.

In a culture of consumerism, we are compelled to keep buying things that we merely like as a way to fill up our lives, as though there is a gap that only shopping and physical objects can fill. But ask yourself, does that item add value to my life?

There is freedom in empty space. This is something that minimalists have realized and strive to attain. By decluttering, we can take stock of our possessions and our lives. It is liberating to determine what we truly need and what we simply desire. By evaluating everything we have, we learn what is important to us, which is as good for your mind as it is for your living space.

Decluttering for Calm

Finding freedom through the spaces around our homes is as simple as evaluating our needs and wants, comparing this to our possessions, and physically clearing out everything that doesn’t add value or happiness to our lives.

The result is a space that feels more like home, because it only contains the things that we truly desire. We change and so should our environments, so it’s okay for us to change our minds about items we once loved. And since our living spaces are so important, it’s equally important not to clutter them with things other people have given us that we’re only keeping out of a sense of obligation. There are better places for items like these.

big living room clean with green accents

Achieve Serenity with a Free Collection from Pickup Please

What do we do with all these things that we have determined are not a good fit for our lives?

Donating items that we no longer use is a great way to cut back on waste. Our unwanted items can be someone else’s treasure. Good quality clothing, shoes, purses, toys, books, household items, and more could add value to someone else’s life. Those three jackets that are cluttering up your closet? They can help keep three other people warm.
Pickup Please makes it easy to get that donation pile out of your house and into the hands of people who want it.

Our free pickup service collects donations that generate funds for Vietnam Veterans of America, locally and nationally. With the ability to schedule a pickup online, it’s easier than ever to declutter your home and find peace in minimalism.  

Schedule a pickup online by choosing a date that works for your schedule. In most cases, we can come and collect your designated items in as little as 24 hours. Put your labeled, unwanted items outside in boxes or bags, and we will come to retrieve them rain or shine. You do not even need to be home. We will provide you with a tax receipt, and the items will go on to fund much needed support for our veterans. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Achieving peace through decluttering is a worthwhile goal. You can improve your chances of success with the help of a free collection from your door.