Minimalist Living: Nothing Unnecessary

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(In the photo: my Journal and Lucifer Effect by Zimbardo)

What’s going on guys.

Today we’ll be discussing:

Minimalist Living(and its benefits).

Now, minimalism is not living in a mud and straw hut, dressed in clothing made out of potato sacks, and eating only rice.

That is not necessary.

You can enjoy all the modern amenities, while saving money, living worry free, and mentally clear.

Now, I’ve always practiced minimalist living to some degree or another.

And it wasn’t by choice back then, as it is now.

When I was younger we were poor and moved around a lot. Russia wasn’t a great place to live in the 90s from what I remember.

One time an American charity donated some hot-cocoa powder and peanut butter to a small church we used to attend.

I thought they were the best things ever, and used to eat the peanut butter straight out of the jar, with a spoon.

To be perfectly honest I never really lacked any of the basic things needed to live…

…There were just no frills. No bells and whistles. No extras. No luxuries.

And because of that, there was simplicity, functionality, and no worrying.

The first time I actually heard about the concept of Minimalism was in the novel “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk.

In the story, the narrator travels frequently, and is accustomed to packing only the necessities for living.

“When you travel a lot, you learn to pack the same for every trip. Six white shirts. Two black trousers. Cordless electric razor. Toothbrush. Six pair underwear. Six pair black socks. Two striped ties. One solid red tie.”

After one business trip, the narrator returns to find his condo destroyed by a gas explosion.

He goes on to live with a friend, bringing only those minimal items.

Now, when things turned around for me and my family, and we entered the lower-middle class, the whole minimalism things backfired a bit on my dad.

He became a serious hoarder, having lived with so little for so long, now, he couldn’t get rid of anything, and dragged everything home.

The basement, shed, and a small attic were stuffed with stuff, that nobody even knew where it came form, or what it was. Old books – water damaged and unreadable, cassette tapes, boxes and boxes full of stuff.

Living that way isn’t practical because all that stuff has no use to you.

Why?

You don’t even know you have it.

My theory is that the brain has a certain amount of attention, and blacks out the rest, to prevent you from being overstimulated and going into shock.

It blacks out all the extra noise, so you can function, and you forget about things.

Having giant piles of stuff maxes out that finite amount of attention, and you forget what you have.

All you know is you have a pile of stuff and don’t remember what most of it even is.

I remember going out to the store to buy a tool to fix my bicycle with, and weeks later finding a similar one laying around in the overstuffed shed, that my dad didn’t know he had.

I live minimally today not because I have to, but because it give me peace of mind and better mental clarity.

The less stuff you have, the more each thing does for you.

I fully believe in quality over quantity. Better to have one great item than ten mediocre ones. Low quality stuff breaks, and it’s often not cheaper in the long term.

Invest in a few quality items, that you plan to use until they evaporate, after a few decades and 1000s of uses.

When you own only a few carefully selected, quality items, it’s much easier to stay organized. Everything has its own place, and your living space feels much more roomy.

Not owning a lot gives you peace of mind. There was some flooding going on in the area last year, due to heavy rain.

Although barely anyone was affected, I remember a lot of worry and anxiety. People were nervous of damage to their personal property.

Wasn’t much of a bother to me, as I was living minimal, and all my belonging could be replaced easily.

My version of minimalism is to have a few quality items that fulfill your day to day needs.

Have a Primary system and a Secondary system for each task.

For example, if you are working with digital media, your primary could be a laptop, the secondary a smartphone. If you enjoy music, a small Bluetooth speaker is awesome.

Another example would be getting around: The Primary system would be a bicycle. The Secondary system would be walking or running(and if you’re really stuck, phone a friend!)

A key rule in minimalism is asking yourself:

How much do I use this item?

If you haven’t used something in a couple of weeks, there’s a good chance it doesn’t fit into the minimalist criteria, and you would be perfectly OK selling it on Craigslist.

Only exception I can think of is winter gear, that you do not use during summer months, however, is essential during winter months.

Another reason to keep something is sentimental value.

Does the item in question have enough emotional value to keep?

If yes, then by all means keep it around. I keep a few things because they remind me of a good experience.

My favorite minimalist idea is converting photos and papers to a digital format via a photo or scanner. Then uploading them to a cloud storage online, and getting rid of the physical object.

This clears up space, and makes it always available, even if your hard-drive dies.

The very core of minimalism is understanding, that whatever you own – should be useful to you.

If something is laying around collecting dust – it can go.

All the Best.

-A

P.S. Recommend these two excellent posts on minimalism(here and here).

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