My minimalism experiment
Americans spend 1.2 trillion dollars annually on nonessential goods and materials (Wall Street Journal, 2011). We have tipped the scales too far to the side of materialism that our homes have become inundated with too many personal belongings. The psychological effects of all these goods may seem innocuous at first, but over time their upkeep causes anxiety and hopelessness. I recently asked myself, “Why am I so enamored with the uncluttered lifestyle?” On one hand, I know that it’s to avoid anxiety and messiness, but I recently found an answer that made me feel more satisfied with my drive for tidiness. It’s called minimalism, but as I interpret it, it’s a value-focused lifestyle that puts relationships and creativity before things.
My great, great, grand-parents were probably minimalists by default as pioneers who traveled to the mid-west. In the past, people weren’t battling against insidious advertising and retail therapy. Today’s minimalism is a misnomer that would more aptly be called “appropriatism”, an insight I gleaned from author Joshua Fields Millburn. The current minimalism movement is a call for what is appropriate for us to live meaningful lives without being distracted by consumerism. This is the part that fascinates me—What would I be doing with my time if I wasn’t thinking about stuff? How often do I think about stuff? How often do I research stuff? How much time am I actually spending buying stuff? With all these questions in my mind, it’s time for me to do an experiment.
From January 1st through June 1st, I will not be buying any physical good for my myself. The exceptions to this are essential personal hygiene products and food. Keyword here is “essential”; therefore, it won’t be a Jamba Juice or a Starbucks. I think it’s important to note that my experiment is not for financial purposes, instead, it’s to see what I will spend my time doing if I am not consuming. Just thinking about this has assisted me in highlighting the things in my life that are priceless: my family, my health, my creativity, my love of learning, and my professional life. I hypothesize that I will be putting more attention on the values just listed, and I can’t wait to blog about it. As soon as a thought comes to my mind that I want to buy something, I will write it in my notebook and then promise myself not to think about it until June 1st.
Certain challenges that I forsee:
-I love books, so not buying any will be difficult. I will have to read the ones I already have or go to the library.
-Trying new hygiene products or supplements—I am a sucker for anything health related.
-The “easy fix”. I may have to be more resourceful and not go straight to buying as a solution.