Minimalism Makes Me HappyPosted: March 27, 2014
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.