A Year Of... interesting things

May Report

Doing this exercise, the ridding of things and controlling the balance of in vs out, places a certain amount of emphasis on the in and thus a mindfulness about acquiring items.

The overriding question about incoming items should be “do I need this?”, however, that might be a difficult bar for someone getting into a minimalism and a minimalist life.
Some people can jump off the deep end, some do better starting at the shallow end and working towards the final goal.

Perhaps a slower, and a more mindful way to think about it is to look at what purpose the new item serves:

  • it might be replacing an older item that got used a lot (“one in, one out” rule);
  • it might be a long want that can finally be met - maybe a new hobby;
  • it might be a temporary situation, satisfying a temporary wish - after all, we’re minimalists, not ascetics.

In all cases, though, it helps a lot if any new item comes in with an exit strategy attached:

  • maybe in replacing the old item, the new item will also be used to the end;
  • same with the hobby - hopefully it will provide enjoyment and any purchases in this area are done mindfully rather than in a hoarding manner;
  • for temporary items, it helps if the new item is bought with a vision towards re-selling it.

In both hobbies and temporary fancies, there typically tend to be many models satisfying that goal, so focusing on one that re-sells well and easily makes possible to reconnect with the minimalist goal after this small detour.

For example, if one would like to get into playing guitar, it’s a far better idea to pick up a common brand and in particular something at the entry-level that would not cost a large amount (and risk making it hard to part with it – more about this in a bit): start with an acoustic guitar and pick an entry-level Yamaha over a Martin or a Taylor. If electric – although that means more purchases (amp, pedals) – pick a, say, an Epiphone over a higher-end Gibson or a custom PRS.

That being said, the best option would be to borrow or rent if possible, particularly for short-term endeavors, to see if it’s something that will stick or pass.

In Goodbye, Things there are quite a good number of tips that address the inbound of items:

  • Tip 40: Be social, be a borrower - and in borrowing an item you may also borrow the expertise or advice of the owner;
  • Tip 41: Rent what can be rented - think or it as a trial and buy it if you use it often or for long;
  • Tip 49: Think of buying as renting - buy with an eye towards reselling; if possible keep tags, boxes, original documentation.
  • Tip 47: Avoid the Concorde fallacy - the snowballing of small purchases ancillary to a large purchase.
    Very much seen in musical gear following an instrument purchase; lens, bags, and other photo gear following an initial camera purchase; etc.
  • Tip 24: Let go of the idea of getting your money’s worth and Tip 30: Don’t get hung up on the prices you originally paid go hand in hand towards ridding of purchases without delay or unnecessary ruminations.

All in all, due to thinning the wardrobe following good signals of what clothes have been worn or not, as well as some creative selling of previously purchased items, May saw a net total of -36 items, my highest month so far.

Feels good.

So what did you think about this post? Liked it? Hated it? Thought it was stupid? Thought I was stupid? Deemed it to be informative? Found mistakes or misinformation? Want to lavish excessive praise or cast fiery insults? Contact me and have at it.