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Minimalist adventures

27 December, 2010

My strategy in getting rid of my stuff is to put everything into a room and only pulling it out when I actually use it.  It’s been a good strategy, actually.  I’ve seen a lot of stuff that I just don’t use, and am unlikely to use.

For example, my stack of awesome t-shirts is, well, awesome – but mostly unused.  Some of those shirts…well, I’m just not that guy anymore.

Some of my books have been rescued before reading them, but those are in the vast minority.  I’ve applied a criteria – which books would I actively want to go out and replace? – and came up with surprisingly few books.  I had expected to fill the three shelves in my bookshelf, for example (approximately 3.5 metres or 12 feet), but I’ve barely filled half of it.  Sure, that’s not great for my expectations, but it’s great for getting rid of unnecessary books.

Of course, there’s a problem that happens every year – what to do for Christmas?

It’s traditional, at this time of year, to exchange gifts with close family and friends.  Sometimes this can be a blessing, where people can receive things that they would never buy for themselves; but it’s a cliche that there will also be some gifts that…well, may not be what you were hoping for.

This year, I was very fortunate – my minimalist rantings of late probably helped that! – but I can certainly sympathise with those who did not do so well.  Perhaps the best post on this topic is from Everett Bogue, blogging on Far Beyond the Stars, entitled 1 Simple Strategy to Save $2000 and Make Everyone Love You Forever.  His basic thesis is that people buy gifts that no one wants and no one needs because they need to buy gifts.  Kinda like this Dilbert comic.

What’s the point?  I’m not totally sure.  But I know that getting rid of more stuff is doing me a lot of favours.  I like the idea of having less stuff to keep track of.  I certainly like the idea of getting e-books instead of books – far more portable, for example.  But most of all, I like having far less pressure to read books that just aren’t that useful to me anymore.  Definite improvement.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the new year can bring.  Aren’t you?

I got an interesting tidbit over the Christmas assortments of delicious meats – that reducing the stuff in my life is all well and good for now, but it can’t work when children get involved.  They might be right, but I’ve no experience for that.  I know it seems intuitively sensible, but I’d like to think that it’s still possible.  It’s worth thinking about.

Tell me what the new year will bring for you in the comments!

  1. 30 December, 2010 2:31 pm

    Modified for children, sure… but still workable. Indeed, even more important!

  2. 30 December, 2010 2:36 pm

    Definitely agree!

    I can’t help but think that a 100 things rule may actually work for children, too – how much stuff would they have accumulated anyway? (speaking as a non-parent, that’s not a rhetorical question)

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