You may see this title as a grab for attention, in what is a fairly trendy topic at the moment. However that is far from what it is. This is just my reasoning behind the problems that I see in the general area of Minimalism.
What I do not understand is why you donate all your clothes, sell all your stuff, and if not sell it throw it away. Ultimately if you are following one of the ideas of less then 100 items or the like, you will also have to make sacrifices.
Donate all your clothes
This is one of the first things that confuses me about Minimalism. Why? There are ways to maintain a tidy wardrobe that is not overflowing with clothes through common sense. It shouldn’t come down to deciding to be a minimalist, and then bagging it all up and taking it to the local charity store.
If you have the right mentality about logical shopping you won’t have to many clothes anyway. There are many steps that will solve the problem of clothing for you, without having to go to extreme’s
- Don’t buy clothes for the sake of buying them. If you cannot see yourself wearing it on a regular basis you probably do not need to buy it. This is just common sense.
- If clothes get old or worn out, get rid of them. Or make use of them in other ways. Old socks or t-shirts, may be very usable as rags. You can get creative, in making something old into something new.
I have no issues with the premise behind donating clothes to charity, however if you are doing this. However chances are that by getting to this point you have probably already wasted, money on clothes you did not really need. If this is the case refer to point one above for future reference.
Sell all your stuff
Again I ask why? Why sell all your stuff? There is only one thing that this is going to achieve for you. Most often the feeling of regret about the difference between what you are getting for selling something vs. what you paid for it initially.
Of course there are many times that this happens, irrespective of whether you are looking to have a minimalist lifestyle or not. Your car is number one where this happens. You buy a car and 5 years later you want to change it, but there is a big difference between what you paid for the car and what you can sell it for now.
Apart from these obvious items, just about everything you own is going to be the same to some degree. The only way to avoid this is to buy something that will likely appreciate with age, eg a rare coin. However while this will satisfy some people, who collect coins, for many of us it will not give the same satisfaction as buying a book, or game.
Ultimately it comes back to the same idea as with clothes. Don’t buy things you do not need. This is not something anyone can tell you what you need or don’t need. It really needs to be something that you figure out for yourself. However I am a firm believer that every purchase decision should be based more on your need for an item rather then an arbitrary figure that you may may set for yourself (eg the 100 item limit, oh no if I buy the 7 pack of new underwear will I go over my item limit.
Throw the rest away
So if you cannot donate it to charity, and cannot sell it, the idea is to throw it away. Now I admit that this is maybe not such a common part, however I have seen it. This is almost the only part I can agree with. Mostly due to after a few attempts I have made to sell some items, resulting in a realization they are not worth selling.
You may say if it is not salable well donate it. Again there are some items that are just not wanted. A good example of this is older computer’s, many of the donation banks have a published list of minimum requirements. So yes I agree there are some things that just need to be thrown away.
I am not going to become a Minimalist, but I will become less Wasteful
I know that over the past 10-15 years, the time that I have really been able to make my own choices. That I have ultimately made a lot of poor decisions when it comes to stuff. I have accumulated far more than I now realize that I actually need.
However accumulating all this extra is not really any sort of motivation for me to become a Minimalist, in fact it does the opposite in some ways. I am happy to acquire stuff, however it needs to be stuff that I actually need, that will serve a purpose, and that will create value for me.
There are other ways to consolidate
Choosing to follow the minimalist movement, is a huge commitment, when you look at it in getting rid of stuff. While there are ways to save space and minimize the space things take up, for example save space with your DVD’s by getting rid of the case and storing them in a CD/DVD Folder.
If you had a smaller living space, you would need less. As a single person I could easily live in a single bedroom apartment, and fit everything I want or need in to this space, without it looking cluttered. Where as there are plenty of people who single and feel the need to have a large house or multi room apartment, and fill it with furniture and other stuff they do not need. I guess this is actually one of the positive points I agree with in regards to minimalism.
The question really comes down to why? Just like why donate your clothes, or why sell your all your stuff. Why have such excessive amounts of space you do not need. But more then anything my question is why does it have to be totally to minimize, what you have. Rather then merely to suppress impulsive purchases.