A few years ago I read Leo Babauta’s book “focus”, about finding simplicity in a distracting world. Leo’s also the author of Zen Habits and Mnmlist.com two blogs on Minimalism. I don’t remember much about the book focus but I was looking at Mnmlist.com/about and a few lines about minimalism resonated with me:
It’s about stuff, and how it has come to overwhelm us.
It’s about distractions and commitments and a never-ending task list.
I’ve always found messy surroundings to be distracting. Surroundings that are clean and neat are less distracting and it’s easier to be clean and neat with less. It doesn’t hurt that I grew up with a sister who is perhaps a borderline hoarder which caused me to become apprehensive about accumulating too much or holding onto something that I didn’t use on a regular basis. Or perhaps I simply like the idea of constantly editing the things I have around me.
There’s also a financial reason not to buy so much stuff it overwhelms us – it’s expensive. Not just in the monetary cost to purchase the item but the the loss in value over time and the trade-offs (opportunity costs) of not being able to afford something else you might want later. Generally I try to limit the things I purchase except when it comes to technology. That’s been a poor decision on my part for many reasons including tech items become outdated and loose value far faster than most.
In an effort to live within my means, reduce distractions and free up commitments one of my 2014 goals is to not buy any new electronic / tech gear, books (I have over 50 books waiting for me to read them), and to be more mnmlist in general. Here’s to 2014.