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Old 08-19-2010, 11:10 PM   #61
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I love the **idea** of minimalism, and I've lived a minimalist lifestyle (by choice) more than once. These jaunts into minimalism (backpacking around Europe for a summer, living in a sleeping bag in a spare room with a single milk crate of "stuff" including clothes for a summer, traveling for business with only a carry-on, etc.) have been short-lived relative to the overall trajectory of my life. But they were refreshing interludes in a life top-heavy with stuff.

The beauty of minimalism, as I've experienced it, is that it allows you to free your mind and time from caring for things. The agony of it, as I've experienced it, is that if you don't have a better use for your mind and time, you'll feel empty and at loose ends, which is unsettling at best and downright distressing at worst.

I'm not interested in the "how many things" debate because I see it as irrelevant, sort of a red herring or a crude yardstick for people who aren't really thinking about the relationship they have with objects. They use it as a guideline because they haven't really worked out what they need to be happy, functional and fulfilled. It's sort of like asking "How much do I need to retire early?" -- the answer depends on you and what your personal needs are. I think the real thing to consider is -- do your things (working for, owning, maintaining, cleaning, using etc.) diminish the time you would have for other, potentially more rewarding activities?

Minimalism is time frugality, just as LBYM is financial frugality. You choose to own less because you want more time and space to live. The number of objects you own becomes an issue only when you get into time debt -- you forgo things you want to do because you have to spend time maintaining objects you neither use nor need. That's clutter, and that's a waste, especially since that object took resources to manufacture, transport, and sell.

So now, for me, clutter represents wasted resources (yay! another guilt burden to carry!). But thinking of it this way helps me be more mindful in what we bring into our house and lives. I'd like to say we're less cluttered, but that would not be true. But I'm thinking about it, at least. I'm hoping that counts for something!
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:11 PM   #62
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Excellent post Urchina!
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:33 PM   #63
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Urchina, I agree that was an excellent post and IMO a wonderful contribution to the forum. I read it aloud to Frank, and he bookmarked the URL after reading it again too. Thank you!
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:27 AM   #64
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Minimalism is a catch 22 for me. I like the idea because it provides a certain simplicity, and serenity, almost a spiritual virtue. I am a neat freak and cleanaholic. Having an uncluttered kitchen table brings me joy. I have no window treatments or carpets in my home.

However, I also am an ardent waste-not-want-not advocate, which means saving the peanut butter jars, the fabric remnants, rubber bands, wood scraps, buttons, wrapping papers, etc etc. And I like my money for today AND for tomorrow, so I accumulate items that are a great bargain even if I know I won't need them right away, like the most excellent free stuff that Staples has been giving away this month. Knowing that i will need certain things in the future, and can keep/obtrain them now for low or no cost, I am compelled to neglect the minimalist in me and bring stuff home. My compromise (to myself) is that I have to deep-storage this "stuff" (versus sticking it in the cabinets and drawers), and fortunately, I have a large basement that I can use for storage.

I do, however, practice a non-materialistic lifestyle. My discretionary expenditures are pretty much down to nothing, give or take some entertainment and a good meal. I don't buy knicknacks, clothing, furniture, jewelry, gizmos.

Give me a good deal on cast iron pots, fabric and threads, canning jars, gardening tools, and some heirloom seeds, and I will gladly take possession. Maybe there is a different philosophy we can name, a combo of minimalist/survivalist. "Minvivalist"?
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:52 AM   #65
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One problem I find with keeping something that I might (will) need later or even buying something that is a good deal that I will need later is that when later gets here I can't find it.

I've tried setting aside a place but even then I'll forget that the extra monitor cable is in the second drawer of the cabinet in that room over there. Instead I'll go look in the box on the top shelf of the closet in that room or whatever. Then I give up and go buy a new one. Then next week I find the one I had saved. Sigh.
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:56 AM   #66
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One problem I find with keeping something that I might (will) need later or even buying something that is a good deal that I will need later is that when later gets here I can't find it.

I've tried setting aside a place but even then I'll forget that the extra monitor cable is in the second drawer of the cabinet in that room over there. Instead I'll go look in the box on the top shelf of the closet in that room or whatever. Then I give up and go buy a new one. Then next week I find the one I had saved. Sigh.
Aren't we twins or what?

Er, I mean dissimilar twins obviously, as we are of different sexes.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:03 PM   #67
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If you're gonna save stuff, and have it do you any good, you have to be very, very organized. You a need a system or systems of categorization, storage, and lookup. I take this probably to an extreme: I know exactly where every single thing I own is, down to every paper clip and penny. Sounds a bit weird, but I've never regretted it.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:24 PM   #68
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The growth of the storage industry reflects the excess inventory that many of us have accumulated. It's mostly "waste", as people haven't used most of the stuff for years, and will probably never use most of it again.

If I move house again, I will take the opportunity to minimize my "stuff". But there is no way I could survive on 100 things.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:30 PM   #69
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If you're gonna save stuff, and have it do you any good, you have to be very, very organized. You a need a system or systems of categorization, storage, and lookup. I take this probably to an extreme: I know exactly where every single thing I own is, down to every paper clip and penny. Sounds a bit weird, but I've never regretted it.
Good lord! Half the time I can't even find my willy.

Ha
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:39 PM   #70
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The growth of the storage industry reflects the excess inventory that many of us have accumulated. It's mostly "waste", as people haven't used most of the stuff for years, and will probably never use most of it again.

If I move house again, I will take the opportunity to minimize my "stuff". But there is no way I could survive on 100 things. (emphasis added)
Me too. Step one: anything that never got unpacked after my last move isn't coming with me on my next move!
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Old 08-22-2010, 02:05 PM   #71
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One of the things that is interesting is that as I've been slowly paring down things I've gotten rid of more and more. Stuff that I thought I had to keep, a year later I've thrown out. We just had 1800 Got Junk out here for the 4th time and each time we've thrown out things that we had decided to keep.

Right now I am giving the new scanner a workout and scanning in lots and lots of paper and then throwing out most of the originals.
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Old 08-22-2010, 02:43 PM   #72
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A nice little sign hanging in my electronics shop:

Junk: is the stuff you threw away the week before you needed it.





"Good lord! Half the time I can't even find my willy.

Ha" Guess the other half of the time it gets in your way?
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Old 08-22-2010, 02:45 PM   #73
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Me too. Step one: anything that never got unpacked after my last move isn't coming with me on my next move!
Yep, we do that too. In Houston when we moved we did that as a "housecooling" party just before we moved, and our guests had to *take* stuff we weren't going to move instead of giving us more stuff in a housewarming.
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:22 PM   #74
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Yep, we do that too. In Houston when we moved we did that as a "housecooling" party just before we moved, and our guests had to *take* stuff we weren't going to move instead of giving us more stuff in a housewarming.
What a great idea! I've been thinking garage sale followed by trip to the Goodwill donation dropoff, but I'll have to add a "housecooling party" to that list.
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:42 PM   #75
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Yep, we do that too. In Houston when we moved we did that as a "housecooling" party just before we moved, and our guests had to *take* stuff we weren't going to move instead of giving us more stuff in a housewarming.

What a great idea !
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:52 PM   #76
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I would never attend any party like that. Heck, I have enough stuff as it is.
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:57 AM   #77
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I would never attend any party like that. Heck, I have enough stuff as it is.
Then take a small knick-knack and give it to Goodwill or something. There was no rule that you had to keep it -- you just had to get at least one thing out of our house.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:03 AM   #78
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Well, I did a big clean up job 4 years ago when I moved home. I'm certainly not going to throw out stuff I currently have as they survived the big clean up. I always have uses for them later on in life. Any item that has found a space in my home by now must have earned it. When I finally retire, I will look through each piece of stuff I have again and then decide on its fate. Think how busy I will be. I think I'll end up keeping most of them. One thing I realize is that I have not been adding much stuff lately in my life and still feel great - so in a way, I am working towards minimalism.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:20 PM   #79
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I keep almost all wood scraps from woodworking in my workshop. I'll need them someday. But right now I have to clear out a spot big enough to build my cedar strip canoe. So I have to get rid of some stuff that I dont need.
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