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Adopting Minimalism Without Going to Extremes

Aaron McHugh

I own more than one chair. I have two guitars, four pairs of pants, a couple of bikes and a shelf full of unread books. The Minimalists, two guys who write and speak about shaving down your belongings to the essential few, might not consider me one of their tribe.

However, after watching their Netflix documentary and listening to them on the Robcast, here are a few principles I’ve adopted because of them.

1) Choose your favorites and get rid of the rest.

My closet only has items that I love. Everything else went to Goodwill. We applied this idea to every area of our home our cabinets, my office, and even our Christmas decorations.

2) Reduce consumption.

I pause now every time I make a new purchase and ask, “Is this something I need? Will this add clutter?” My purchasing has significantly reduced as a result of adopting a joy-based belief that less is more.

3) Get rid of the old

I used to stockpile stuff. Three jackets, three pairs of running shoes and backpacks. Now, when I purchase something new, e.g., a pair of running shoes, the old pair is donated the same week to Goodwill. It is important to keep this one-for-one ratio to keep my life clutter free. One comes in, and one goes out.

4) Use what I have instead of purchasing “better.”

When version 2.0 comes out, I choose to use what I already own instead of paying for the newest version. My phone, my computer, my car are all outdated when viewed with a 2.0 filter. They all three work great even though they are not the latest models.

5) Repair before replacing

Thule wanted to send me a new backpack instead of fixing my zipper. I chose to find a local suitcase repair shop, spend $35 and fix the zipper that Thule didn’t want to correct. This week I’m sending in my Patagonia shell to their WornWear repair program.

Thule zipper repair for $35 instead of getting a newer model for free. I love my pack and wanted it fixed more than I wanted a brand new model.

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