Minimalism: Putting My Stuff To Use
In recent months I’ve seen a number of articles with critiques of those who adopt a “minimalist” lifestyle. While the idea of minimalism is hardly welled defined, you can sum it up by saying the minimalist lifestyle is one of reducing the stuff you own in an attempt to simplify life and focus less on material things. The two main criticisms I’ve seen are that (1) there is an element of privilege with a minimalist attitude, and (2) it’s expensive to try to implement minimalism in any meaningful way. This blog covers most of the thoughts that have been echoed by folks on the issue, as well as highlighting positive aspects of it.
I have somewhat of a natural tendency towards this lifestyle. I don’t like clutter and I am all about the utility of the things I own. I think this comes in part from growing up poor (Grew up on the crime side, the New York Times side) and reading Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill as a teenager.
That being said, I find great joy in many of the things I own. I love the wealth of pots and pans I have to cook in, I enjoy having diversity in the clothes and shoes I wear, I enjoy watching programs on my television, I enjoy playing my guitar (I might play it for 20 minutes a week these days), I love my 3 pairs of headphones, and I even love my two smart phones and 2 messenger bags. Each of them has a purpose, and I use them in their respective element. I’m not actively trying to reduce the stuff I have, or get to a place where I feel I’ve reached some imaginary optimal amount of stuff. I just want to make sure I use the stuff I have.
Over the years I have taken care to buy nice things and take care of them. That being said, my interests have changed and some things I own I will never use again. Why hold onto those things? Why hold onto the purple button up I never wear? Why keep the 6 bottles of cologne I haven’t used in years? Why keep stuff I bought with the idea that “it’ll be cool to have some day?” I don’t want stuff to have stuff, I want stuff to put to use. Stuff that I find ascetically pleasing, stuff that i’ll file a police report if they were stolen. That’s all I mean by minimalism, and maybe that is more utilitarianism than anything else.
Here’s to getting more stuff I love and giving stuff I don’t use to people who will love them.