There is just too much stuff in our lives nowadays. Victorian era maximalism got turned up to 11 thanks to globalization and hyper-capaitlaism. Odds are you have useless items around you right now that you thought at one time was a good idea. Well, here’s a better idea: get rid of it.
Take all that useless stuff and recycle, reuse, or donate it to better places. Of course, once you get rid of it be sure to buy less in the future.
I look forward to throwing things away every weekend. I have been living in shitty studio efficiency apartments for the better part of the last seven years. This precludes me from owning very many things. I guess I could own a lot of things, but then I wouldn’t have a lot of space for myself. Also, most stuff is crap. And there is nothing more beautiful than an almost-empty apartment.
Often we hear that spending on experiences make for a happier life than buying into consumerism. In concept it sounds great, but many people think that it’s hard to rejig their life to be focused on doing things rather than consuming things. This TED talk is about breaking free of that passive normality and living life to its fullest.
In Western culture owning stuff i prized in and of itself, but there are still people out there who don’t see ownership of things as a way to define themselves. Andrew Hyde is one of those people and he has a good rundown of what it’s like.
Minimalism is equally easy as it is boring to do. What shirt today? The one I didn’t wear yesterday. “How tough is it for you?” You mean, to pick the shirt I didn’t wear yesterday? Once you get used to simplicity, the complex normality others have becomes the audacious thing.
The first question someone asks me when I tell them about the project is “How do you define something you own?” Great question, but that is a lie. The first question is always “Do you do laundry? How many pairs of underwear?” I’ll never get a stranger’s obsession with my knickers, but that is *always* question #1. Question #2 is the “What do you own?” countdown, which is both fun and annoying to answer.
Inspired by The Story of Electronics, hundreds of people sent letters to Lenovo President and CEO Rory Read yesterday, telling the company to green its products and “Make ‘em Safe, Make ‘em Last, and Take ‘em Back.” Within hours,Read got back in touch to say he “could not agree with [us] more.”
We’re excited that Lenovo wants to do better, but with their weak track record on responsible recycling and failure to follow through on a commitment to get PVC and brominated flame retardants out of their products, we’re not ready to take them at their word just yet.
We first looked at curbing consumerism for better living theme back in 2007 and now the idea is spreading. Now, thanks to the ongoing recession, people are learning that all the stuff they bought didn’t really make them happy so they are getting rid of all their stuff.
When you start buying less you have more disposable income to spend on experiences, and that, my friends, is the key to happiness. What are you going to talk about and remember fondly in ten years, the concert you went to or the new shoes you bought?
Here’s a story about a person who downsized their junk and upsized their fun!
Tammy Strobel wasn’t happy. Working as a project manager with an investment management firm in Davis, Calif., and making about $40,000 a year, she was, as she put it, caught in the “work-spend treadmill.”
Today, three years after Ms. Strobel and Mr. Smith began downsizing, they live in Portland, Ore., in a spare, 400-square-foot studio with a nice-sized kitchen. Mr. Smith is completing a doctorate in physiology; Ms. Strobel happily works from home as a Web designer and freelance writer. She owns four plates, three pairs of shoes and two pots. With Mr. Smith in his final weeks of school, Ms. Strobel’s income of about $24,000 a year covers their bills. They are still car-free but have bikes. One other thing they no longer have: $30,000 of debt.