How many times have you been in Target to grab a couple of things you need, and you get to the checkout and your cart is full? The cashier asks you, “Did you find everything you need?” You reply, “I came in for just a couple of items and ended up with all these things.”

Things everywhere. Boxes, books, clothes, shoes, magazines, toys, jewelry, furniture, trinkets, home décor, make-up, tablets, etc. The list of things we own is endless. These things are our possessions which tell ourselves and others, who we are, what we are, and where we want to belong. And long after we’re gone, they become our legacy or the things our children must deal with.

My daughter is a minimalist (in a sense). Some minimalist do not own cars or homes, of which she has both. But after seeing her dad inherit his parent’s things, she began wondering why do we care so much about things. She found an article about how someone would pick up an item they owned and held it in their hands for a minute. After that minute, they would ask themselves the following questions: Does this item have a purpose? Does this item have a special meaning to me? Can I live without this? If the answers were no, the person would get rid of it.

She thought it was worth a try. It wasn’t easy at first as we have an instinct to like “things”. Things make us feel good about ourselves and identify who we are. She completed the process in a few weeks and within a year had put over $1,500 back in her pocket. Through the process she has sold her things through online sites, held two garage sales, and returned items she had never used back to the store. Yes, within a certain time frame, stores will accept returns without a receipt.

She has also saved money by making more mindful purchases. I have been with her when she has placed something in her cart and before checking out, put it back. The temporary period of having it in the cart can fulfill the need for instant gratification.

Her minimalist way of thinking has rubbed off on me, a little. I am more mindful when I buy her a gift. I take the time to think about if the item is something she needs or will have a special meaning to her. If for a second I think it will go in a garage sale in the spring, I do not purchase it. So, I guess in a way, her being a minimalist has saved me money.

So, if you are looking for a way to make or save money, try thinking like a minimalist-one thing at a time!