Hattiesburg locals choose less, not a mess


Anna Cochran poses with her tiny house. Photo by Meghan Fuller.

As a society, Americans rely too much on possessions. Whether it is a fancy car, their favorite latte every day, or even just sentimental possessions, many individuals obsess about consuming. For others, minimalism offers an opportunity to be surrounded by only the things that spark joy and or what they absolutely need to survive. 

Many people might wonder if minimalism deprives someone too much. This assumption is wrong. Minimalists do not need as much as others, because they have changed their mindset, and they focus on more important things. 

Hattiesburg local and tiny house carpenter Anna Cochran lives a minimalistic lifestyle.

Cochran began practicing the act of minimalism three years ago when she watched the documentary “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.” Cochran realized she had been surrounding herself with temporary possessions, and she was using those items to define herself. Cochran said she realized that her image of an adult was not accurate and that sometimes less is more. 

“I thought an adult was someone who had a lot of money and a great career, and that you had to have that to be successful, but now because of minimalism, my life is only full of luxuries,” Cochran said. “I now define adulthood as someone with emotional strength and mental integrity rather than what he or she has from materials.”  

Cochran has freed her life of possessions by building herself a tiny home and limiting items to only what she absolutely needs and loves.  

“Instead of having 20 shirts and only liking six of them, I only have six shirts. It frees up a lot of my time not having to pick out a new outfit every day,” Cochran said. 

Minimalism is also the realization that the more things you have, the more things you have to take care of.  

Staff member of Hattiesburg Convention Commission Daniel McKellar limits what he buys. McKellar only buys what he needs and enjoys the simpler things in life. McKellar’s advice is that people should fill their lives with assets and get rid of liabilities. 

“If your life is full of liabilities, then you’ll be a slave to your possessions. Before buying something ask yourself: Is this an asset or a liability,” McKellar said. 

McKellar says he has enjoyed not having to take care of as much in his life since practicing minimalism. 

While practicing minimalism is easy for some, it can be difficult for beginners to adjust to the lifestyle.

William Carey student Sam Houston is in the beginning stages of becoming a minimalist. 

Houston said that when someone is in college, they are pushed into minimalism due to moving around a lot and living in smaller spaces, such as a dorm. Although Houston is interested in the idea of minimalism, he has trouble leaving a lot of his possessions behind. He has realized, though, that since living out the lifestyle, things start to clutter peoples’ lives.  

“Since I have started experimenting with it, I am surprised to find that having fewer items hasn’t changed my life in a bad way. It has actually caused me to worry less about what I have to take care of as far as items go and allowed me to be more present with the people I am with.”