In an inertial frame of reference, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force.
-Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion (translated)
As I work through my minimalism journey and share my musings on this blog and on Youtube, I am struck by the sometimes surprising effort of simplifying.
Make no mistake, heading down a road of massively altering how you shop, manage money, spend your time, and measure value is a tremendous effort.
An object in motion stays in motion until another force acts against it. Staying on that road of unintentional time, shopping as a hobby, and keeping up with the Joneses, is the easy path. Shifting your life to break out, challenging yourself to live only by your own standards, that is a powerful effort.
I am asked about simplifying quite often and sometimes the exchange can lead to humorous interactions. One of the most frequent questions is how to sell items they want to declutter. Unfortunately, the answer for many Things (books, dvds, single issue comics) is that the options are usually limited to Kijiji/Craigslist, donation, or recycling.
More than one person, when offered these choices, has told me they “might as well keep them.”
Which is definitely the easy path. That path has no resistance.
Keep on keeping on with those Things, despite admitting they add no value to your life.
Keep on moving them from house to house.
Keep on renting them space in your life and home.
Keep on stepping over them.
Keep on buying new storage containers for them.
Keep on cataloging and categorizing and collating and cursing.
Stay in motion, even if you admit you don’t like the direction.
Having gotten much closer to the end of the purging part of this journey, I continue to challenge myself. I bought four new t-shirts this week.
Did I immediately need them? (no)
Would they be better than four shirts I currently own? (yes)
Did I think the purchase over carefully? (yes, I watched the website for four months for the best selection and price)
In spare moments, I still find myself looking around my now-much-reduced Things and questioning each one. Chipping away a book here, a bit of dvd over-packaging there. Taking time away from social media or other distractions to read and rejuvenate.
An object at rest stays at rest, though. So minimalism is the force that sets me off in a new, but more intentional, direction.
So I’ve started out for God knows where
I guess I’ll know when I get there
-Tom Petty “Learning to Fly”
When I was launching this site, I considered the e-blast component (or whatever the kids are calling it today). The value is, of course, that I can send it on to folks so they know when new content is posted.
But did it fit my goals? Not really. How can I pitch digital minimalism and clutter up people’s inboxes at the same time?
In the end I decided that Facebook and Twitter would have to be enough. Also, keeping a regular schedule of Wednesday and Saturday content (which I have been able to do so far).
Having just deleted the third notification about the latest podcast by some Minimal gentlemen you might have heard of, I was reminded of why I went the route I went.
The multiple hits aren’t their fault. I am a patreon supporter so that doubles up many of their messages. Time to follow my own advice and …
Click that button every time you see it. If you are like I was, you have a lot of non-spam junk mail hitting your inbox. Store sales offers, blog updates, mailing lists, school donation asks. Many you will delete unread. Starting hitting that unsubscribe button until your inbox is a quiet and serene place.
Just a note, it is often recommended that you not hit unsubscribe on true spam. Spammers have been known to treat that as a way to confirm the email is live and being monitored, a green flag to send even more spam. That’s what your junk mail button is for.
There are definitely times you should subscribe.
The primary one is to save yourself time and attention elsewhere. Many blogs have a subscribe function which will remind you of new content, thus saving you the time (and possible disappointment) of visiting the site and not seeing anything new.
That said, most blogs also update at regular intervals. If the blog, (for example this one) updates regularly (for ex every Wednesday and Saturday, like this one) then you can set up your own low-attention reminder to check at the appropriate times.
Digital Minimalism series