i like helping

minimalism in a nerdy world

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Better with less (“Why?” Part 2)

I got tired of waking up in a world that somebody else owns
– Bruce Springsteen “Racing in the Streets” (demo version)

In my last post, I focused on my Why. This time out, I want to share the notes I made when I asked myself the question posed by The Minimalists – “How would your life be better with less?”

I am more focused on my future than I ever have been. I am starting to see a picture of where I will be in 10 years. And when I picture that ¬†ideal future, most of these Things aren’t there.

Jotting down notes of how my life would be better with less, I found they all fit into 4 broad categories – My First Principles, benefits in the present, benefits in the future, and financial advantages.

I could, and very well might, write an entire post about each item on this list.

First Principles

  • Reduce selfishness
  • Practice making better choices
  • Support creators more effectively
  • Be more in the moment
  • Create more

The Present

  • Less content guilt
  • Calmer space
  • Better choices
  • Appreciate what I have more
  • Not settle for so-so
  • Less clutter
  • Less being judged

The Future

  • Freedom for more choices
  • Less to move
  • Less for Wifey to deal with
  • Could downsize
  • Open to new things

Financial

  • Lower debt – not paying to owe
  • Digital final format reduces rebuying
  • Safety net – by paying no interest charges
  • Encourage using free services – library, apps
  • Spend less on what I hope I’ll like

You can’t win the Things Game except by conceding.

-Keith Callbeck

Minimalist Collector video – Minimalism at 78 rpm

getting to my Why

I was thinkin’ that if you know a way out,
Then I’d like to go with you.
-Our Lady Peace “Paper Moon”

One of the slow living thinkers who has influenced me the most has been Brooke McAlary who hosts The Slow Home Podcast. Brooke focuses on what she calls “your Why.” The Minimalists ask a broader question – “How would your life be better with less?”

I have put a lot of thought into these questions as I approach the end of my purging and decluttering.

In many ways, where I think I stumbled at the end of my 900 Things project was that I failed to ask myself enough questions through the process. Why was I reducing? How should I stay minimal? What do I want?


I think I always gave a lot of meaning to possessions. As a child I had a ‘library’ of books, read and unread. And I would meticulously catalog and count my comics. Checklists and ‘want lists’ and price guides.

For a lot of my youth I did not feel a lot of joy or connection. As a bullied kid, I had very little sense of control over my world.

Read more

Video – minimising mementos

Where are you storing your eclipse glasses?

You’re not the only one
Starin’ at the sun
Afraid of what you’d find
If you stepped back inside

-U2 “Staring at the Sun”

The morning of the eclipse, I regretted not picking up a pair of eclipse glasses.

Being disconnected from news channels and social media, I was late to the game on the eclipse. The rarity of the experience was lost on me.

Luckily a co-worker had a pair of glasses and I was able to see the spectacle. It was a wonderful moment to experience.

I teased my friend – “You know the resale value of those glasses is peaking right now? In an hour they are worthless.”

Which is a bit of ¬†lesson for anything we buy. It can be incredibly valuable one moment and worthless the next. And that’s ok. Many Things in our lives are meant for a time and then are meant to be let go.

Baby clothes, plaid overshirts, mystery novels. When the utility has passed, put them back into the world.

Just like the moon passing in front of the sun, Things move on.

And trying to hold on when that time is gone is just like the moment after the eclipse. When you are just staring at the sun.

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