Minimal MePosted: January 23, 2013
1. A 1950s trend in art that used simple, typically massive, forms.
2. An avant-garde movement in music, characterized by the repetition of very short phrases that change gradually, producing a hypnotic effect.
I have too much stuff.
Last summer I began the task of de-cluttering my world by getting rid of massive amounts of paperwork I’d been carrying around – some of it for over fifteen years. What began as project to lighten my load for a move ended with the shredding of almost two hundred pounds of paper and a deep disappointment with myself.
And not just because of the cost: transporting then shredding, time taken to sort it, space taken (for years), and lost value of space. No, what it really meant was that I had commited thought (time) and space (a resource) to stuff for no return. I had been wasting time and resources.
More disappointing is that this realization isn’t new to me. I’d somehow albeit quietly, fallen into the “perhaps I’ll use it one day” trap. That misguided thinking caused me to keep. store, move, account for, and think about things well beyond a point that I should have.
The “maybe one day” thing rarely, if ever comes.
Here’s an example: I have two laptops and two personal computers in storage. And I have an IPad, IPhone, and laptop that aren’t in storage. That means I have seven computing devices (pause) for one person, (pause) four of which are not being used (stop). My mistake was not in keeping them for strategic use. My mistake was that I had no strategic plan for them – such as getting rid of them as I replaced them with newer devices. And that was primarily because they were in storage!
Over the next several weeks and months, I’m going to downsize even further. I’m serious. I’m going minimal. A concept I was afraid to even share with you, considering the business I’m in. After all, I want you buying, right?! Yes, but in a different way.
Here are the principles I’ve come to embrace as I think strategically and wisely about how I consume. They are:
1) Minimal does not necessarily mean stark.
2) Use caution when using sentimentality as a deciding factor.
3) Better to have few and have quality.
4) Have a plan to discard or rotate (or storage is synonymous to lying).
In my next post, I’ll tell you the story of how a pair of fireman’s boots and a piece of luggage caused me to step even further into the minimalist lifestyle.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you! Have you considered or adapted to this way of living? What’s it been like? Where have the struggles been? What about the benefits?