Minimalism Makes Me Happy

The Alchemist is laughing right now. Me, the one with the always cluttered desk, being a minimalist?

Minimalism != organization. One of the baser reasons I like minimalism is because I’m so bad at cleaning up after myself. I allow my work spaces (the kitchen excepted) follow the law of entropy for months before I reimpose order. But if I have less stuff, there’s less stuff to get messy, and thus less stuff to get hidden! But I’ll admit that’s a pretty silly reason to like minimalism.

The deeper reason is that I don’t like owning stuff anymore. I never consciously engaged in retail therapy, but one of the reasons I stopped being an active gamer is that I felt the constant pressure to buy more games. I have SO MANY games, but “oh! The new blah-blah is out, I have to play it so I can talk about it with the ZERO people who care what I think” or “oh! Blah-Blah-Blah is on sale for only $5. I have 20 games I haven’t played yet, but only $5! Five!!” Playing games began to feel like checking things off a to-do list.

What was supposed to be a leisure activity made me angry, or at the very least agitated. So I cut it out of my life. The financial savings is just a nice side benefit.

I spent precisely zero dollars as a sports fan. I never bought team gear. Never bought cable (even when we had it) to watch sports. Never bought tickets… You get my point. But being a sports fan, I was almost always angry or agitated. Even football, a minor sport from a time commitment, is a HUGE time sink. So I cut it out of my life.

Those two decisions have done wonders for my mood.

Whenever we clean the house, we’re constantly finding gadgets we bought that we didn’t remember we had. The sunk cost (financial and environmental) in these goods is sad. Eventually we’ll prune all of the dead away. I’ve been off the hedonic consumer treadmill for a while now. Any time I’m tempted to get back on, I remind myself of the bags and bags of stuff we’ve carted to thrift stores over the years.

I want to be free. So I cut things out of my life. What’s left is simple, elegant, and happy.

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8 Comments on “Minimalism Makes Me Happy”

  1. Erin @ My Alternate Life says:

    Minimalism rocks, doesn’t it? 🙂 Which also sounds funny coming from me as we have a bunch of recycling that needs to go out cluttering our apartment right now. My rule is, if I don’t need or love it, I don’t buy it.

    • David says:

      My city takes almost everything except plastic bags/film plastic, single stream to boot. I was doing really good saving that up and biking it over to the nearest grocery that takes it, but got off it for a while. Just recently started it back up 🙂

  2. But i like minimalism for the same reason so I don’t think your reason is silly 😉

  3. Mark Thomas says:

    It’s the darn Steam sales! I have countless Steam games I’ve bought and never played…and some of them are award winning titles. I keep telling myself I’ll get around to them, but I never do. Now I find myself wanting to upgrade to a new gaming rig and then I’ll play them…maybe this is why I’m not so good at saving money, haha. I actually wanted to ‘clean up’ and sell things I don’t use a while back, and selling my whole Steam collection seemed like a good way to do that…but it’s against the terms of service, unfortunately.

    • David says:

      Yeah, trying to transfer ownership of a Steam account is a really good way to piss off Valve and get it locked for good.

  4. Dr. Doom says:

    Interesting — I’ve gone through a similar cycle of dropping both sports and videogames out of my life.
    Sports have stayed dead, but over time, videogames have crept back in, albeit in much shorter gaming sessions than before. Many games feel like walking through an interactive art museum with terrific original music playing in the background — the experience is worth the investment in time.

    Yeah, I also completely understand the compulsion to collect and hoard purchases, either on consoles or via steam. I combat this by focusing on the games that I already own and making sure that I’ve gotten value out of them before getting anything new. Although once in a while I’m still tempted by a good humble bundle — discovered the very awesome FTL that way.

    Still, glad you cut them. If it’s not working for you, it’s not working. Minimalism is a great thing.

  5. Gero1369 says:

    I’m a minimalist in progress. I have tons of stuff, but don’t really make the time to go through and do good purges. I have an absolutely monstrous Magic card collection that would put many card shops to shame and actively try to sell them, but I’m torn on selling the really good ones for two main reasons: they continue to dramatically increase in value and I’d like to think that my kids will become interested in playing (and a case of that I’d like to play with anyone that is willing as well). First world problems!


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