Posted: November 18th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Japan, Minimalism, Personal, Update | Comments Off on Minimalism

Well, I’m sorry.

Can I get that out of the way? I’ve neglected Zeus Thaber again.

But at least my range of neglected hobbies, anywhere from journaling to amateur photography, make for good company. (On cold nights I can still hear them screaming for attention.)

Truth be told, I’d sell them, but they are pretty laden with emotional value. The camera is about 35 years old, my Mom used it in college. What kind of monster would sell that? And the journal, it has more than a years worth of cultural transition journal entries. Plus, who buys someone else’s journal journal?

But I would argue that a camera and a book aren’t really cluttering up my life in a disruptive sort of way. There are times where a certain item is impossible to throw away. You know the excuses, “But I might use it someday”, “But it brings back such good memories”, etc etc.*

I used to be guilty of this.

I remember when these kind of thoughts started to decline. It was the first time I came to Japan, and in order to raise the money to pay for the trip. I was selling anything that wasn’t nailed down.

In the frantic, garage-sale-esqe countdown, I realized several things:

A) I didn’t play the bass guitar anymore. (I only kept it around because it made me feel cool.) **see note below
B) Pawn shops aren’t very generous.
C) Knickknacks, and anything resembling them, are terrible.
D) If someone won’t give you money for an item, and you don’t know why you still have it, said item probably isn’t worth keeping.

So, for me it came down to stuff, our complicated, co-dependent relationship with stuff.

Naturally, I wanted to see if anyone else questioned this zany relationship with stuff.

I think you’d be surprised at how gigantic the movement against stuff has become.

One of my favorite blogs on minimalism is written by a guy who, on occasion, strikes me as a crazy-ass idealist.*** But at the same time, he puts the movement into very coherent and eloquent terms, that have really spoken to me.

Here is a quote from his book.

“A minimalist eschews the mindset of more, of acquiring and consuming and shopping, of bigger is better, of the burden of stuff. A minimalist instead embraces the beauty of less, the aesthetic of spareness, a life of contentedness in what we need and what makes us truly happy.”

“A minimalist values quality, not quantity, in all forms.”

How does that not sound good?

But…there is always a downside, right?

The concept of minimalism on a personal level can be taken, commercialized, and packaged conveniently for sale.

Want to be minimalist, but still want to keep all your stuff? We can help with that, and all you have to do is follow our system and we will organize all that clutter.

Organized clutter =/= Minimalism
I guess the point is to find what works for you. I’ve been trying to do that for a while now, and I think it would be best described as a work in progress.




* check out, they had a good article about cutting the strings on hobbies and their associated clutter

** totally cool anyway, regardless of rock instruments involved.

***, look for the articles on planning and communal living