21 Ekim 2017 Cumartesi

Philosophy of Everyday Things: A first take on minimalism

About half a year ago, I had written a post about why it might be a good idea to simplify a few daily things. It took some time until I got a minimalism rush and start to work on it, but here are some initial thoughts, followed by direct pragmatical tips in case you want to give it a shot too.

What can stay?

For my current goal it is which is essential for leading an healty life and functional items that I use for doing things I like. The second part is essential, because otherwise the whole act becomes getting rid of stuff for the sake of it. My main objective however is making physical and more importantly mental space for stuff that matters.

What it means means to me is: I need some clothing, something to sleep on, my guitars, laptop, camera and backpack stay, and some important documents (and kitchen stuff, but it is a given in a WG). But even those can be reduced (spoilers, they are)

What can not stay?

Basically everything else.

Books: I strongly prefer reading paper books over e-books, which comes with some environmental shame, which can be justified by the fact that books are awesome and paper is relatively ok compared to other waste we produce. But there is no need to keep books. (Compared to not reading paper books it is a huge improvement for very low cost) . I always think I will come back to that book but it rarely happens. Exchanging books is awesome. It is free, connects people and saves the earth! At this moment, the only book I am considering to keep long term is a single compilation of some Hesse stories and poems.
Memoria: If you do not remember it without attachment to some physical object, it was not that important. But, there are some memoria that is ok to keep. First kind is the short term stuff while you still feel like you are there where you got the memoria (though it is better not to acquire it at the first place), the second kind is the items which still do (and not only can) fulfill a practical purpose, like grandmas scarf. If a few items are pretty difficult, it is also ok to keep them for a while, until you get better at detachment :)
Extra clothes: Almost everyone I know, including myself, has more clothing than necessary.

If you have read so far, you deserve some pictures of my favourite "minimized" items to keep you from clicking away.

 I simply use hangers for all my clothing. It takes my less space than folding them and does not grow into a mess in my drawers over time.
This only works because I do not differentiate between items in the same category, which means, even if not all my t-shirts are the same, they would match everything else as good (or bad) as any other, so always take the top one. Same goes for almost all.
A classical example of freeing mind space by freeing physical space. 

My new table. I know it was not listed a necessity item but it is a dependency of laptop and documents (if you count university stuff to documents).Notice the lack of a fourth leg, true minimalism :) ! It is very small, which does not allow me start a new thing wihtout removing the formet task first. I also fold it away everytime I am done using it, not because it takes lots of room, but rather as a task changing ceremony, a mental pre/postpreation. A large table surface, drawers or the table simply being ready do sound practical, but I think they also produce lots of mental clutter. Focus!
Oh, yeah the chair is also gone.

Futon on tatami. Pros: Can be put away easily, actually quite comfy when you get used to it, detachment from the extravagant comfort of a full blown bed, tatami makes a good yoga mat.
Cons: First night is uncomfortable, maybe second a bit too.

There is a lot more to simplify, I am still working on it!

Why focus on physical objects: Starting of easy

Most of this post was about getting rid of physical items. I definetely do not think it is the main part of simplifying life, but it is the easiest part.
  • With every item going away one sees an objective proof of "success", which makes it much easier to stay commited.
  •  After getting rid of a physical item by selling/gifting or throwing away it is difficult to get it back, mostly difficult enough that it takes more than a moments impulse to actually do it, which takes much less when f.e. giving up an unwanted habit. Anyone tried quitting smoking? You know what I mean.
  • Most of the time it is easy to decide whether an item is a necessity. (protip: it mostly is not)
  • There are lots of stuff that bring very little to no use at all, getting rid of them basically comes for free. I think one should also pass this line and sacrifice some habit based comfort to take further steps, but at least this much is something everyone would benefit from.
  • Having friend who looks you in the eye and says you don't need that shit helps a lot. You have to be ruthless and it is easier to be ruthless on other peoples stuff.
And it makes good preparation for the mental cleaning afterwards.

A quick note on waste

Throwing stuff away just to buy more "minimal" alternatives is not much of a environmental friendly strategy. Selling second hand items (also read: making some money) , giving them away as gifts or repurposing them (also read:lots of DIY fun) however is! Inevitably, some stuff will have to land in the garbage or recyling bin, but it can be kept minimal.