Is simplifying the end or merely the means to an end? When I was moving around—I’d really hate to say traveling, because whenever I relocated [to a new country] I would stay for a few years—simplifying by which I really mean decluttering made life easy. If the stuff fits within the allowed airline baggage limits (used to be 2x32kg), which are getting smaller and smaller (now it’s 1×20 kg) due to peak oil, it is much easier to move compared to having a moving company organize a giant container.
If you are one of those traveling bloggers, which we used to know as backpackers, or the amount of purchases have reached a more reasonable level, it does in my opinion make little sense to continue decluttering for the sake of decluttering. Of course, if that’s your thing, go ahead and do it. I’m speaking strictly from my perspective here.
What is often the case when someone reduces his stuff that much is that ordinary life functions like cleaning, cooking, repairing, and making, are either outsourced or they are simply made irrelevant by a change of interest.
Is it a coincidence that many minimalists are runners and writers? I admit they if they weren’t writers we might not know about them, but in the other hand if you play hockey instead of running you can not be a minimalist zealot.
I am going to claim that there is an economic progression which goes from “buying everything within sight” to “buying only what is needed and decluttering” to “not buying and maintaining” to “making and creating”. Without skills in making and maintaining, the only option other than buying is really not buying and doing without. Since we are all mostly a bunch of specialists by training and thus has very few useful skills, that is our only choice initially.
Long time readers may have noticed a progression from minimalism to repairing. I believe I am moving on. If you stick around, I will hopefully have moved onto making things next year or so. I think one catalyst was when a reader told me that there really was nothing wrong with having stuff per se if that stuff served a useful purpose. Indeed, there is nothing glorious about being a minimalist. It is neither incredible nor amazing. What I care about is functionality and the ability to do things. I want to maximize those. I do not want to minimize stuff beyond the point of eliminating redundancy because going further means cutting into functionality and this only makes sense if the minimalism is turned into an article of faith where people derive pleasure from believing in something for its own sake, that is, it becomes an end rather than the means to an end.
Daily Yakezie: Is Frugality the New Superiority? @ 151 Days Off
Originally posted 2010-03-16 11:34:53.