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Trog
2009-09-30, 09:47 AM
There is a growing trend (fuelled, perhaps, even more by the recent recession) to do without. To have fewer possessions. In short to live a minimalist life.

I like this idea of minimalism for a few reasons. You can save more and live on less, having a minimalist house is easier to clean, you do without that which you do not use, etc. But it is by no means easy to purge things out of your life. For me it's been a long and continuous process. I am not where I'd like to be just yet, but I'm slowly getting there. :smallsmile:

Questions:

In what ways do you live minimally now?
What possessions would you have trouble minimizing and why?
Do you think you could ever undertake the 100 Thing Challenge wherein you reduce your possessions (not counting things used communally like dishes and such and counting collections of things such as your DnD book collection as one (1) item) to just 100 things? Specific details here (http://www.guynameddave.com/100-thing-challenge.html).


P.S. I edited this post down to half its original length. Minimalism FTW. :smallcool:

Groundhog
2009-09-30, 10:04 AM
Well, I don't buy unnecessary stuff. I'm not sure if that counts though, considering that I'm a major pack rat. I don't throw stuff out because my possessions have a lot of memories attached to them, and if I throw them out then those memories are liable to get lost.

So, I doubt I'd ever be able to take the 100 thing challenge. Ah well.

Serpentine
2009-09-30, 10:04 AM
I like my little bits and pieces :smallfrown:
...
Or would a whole lot of little things count as one?

I have way more than 100 books, and I wanna keep all or most of them...

So, in answer to your question, no, I could not :smallwink:

Nameless
2009-09-30, 10:07 AM
Most people say itís our minds that separate us from other animals.
I say itís our junk that does that. :smallbiggrin:

Trog
2009-09-30, 10:11 AM
I like my little bits and pieces :smallfrown:
...
Or would a whole lot of little things count as one?

I have way more than 100 books, and I wanna keep all or most of them...

So, in answer to your question, no, I could not :smallwink:

A collection of books - no matter how many you have - counts as one (1) item. As would any collection. For example I would count my DnD stuff as one thing and my collection of books of all kinds as one other thing. So so far I would only have 2 things. Clothes might be considered a collection I suppose, if you treat it as one. Some people have gone to the extreme and counted their clothes as individual items but left out underwear and socks.

So taking those guidelines into consideration could you do it Serp?

Mauve Shirt
2009-09-30, 10:17 AM
I think I could just keep my needlework chest, counting all of the stuff it contains as a collection, my piano and sequencer, my computer and internet, and my cell phone. With clothes counting as a collection, that's 5 items... you know, I don't think I own 100 items if clothes and books count as a collection. I am a college student, so I'm already something of a minimalist. Most of my stuff doesn't even belong to me.

Thufir
2009-09-30, 10:18 AM
I find it ironic that the thread title has superfluous letters in it...

I can be fairly minimalist about things. But I'm never entirely sure how much stuff I have, since years of living in a room 7' square has made me very good at keeping things compact.

What would I have trouble minimalising? Books. And maybe clothes to some extent. I like a variety there.

I might be able to do the 100 things challenge, depending on what counts as 1 thing.

Trog
2009-09-30, 10:22 AM
I find it ironic that the thread title has superfluous letters in it...
Heh. Whoops. :smallredface: That there be my over-caffeinated fingers at work. Fixed. :smalltongue:

Lady Tialait
2009-09-30, 10:31 AM
Hmm, I am acually trying to get MORE stuff. My life is at a point that my house is too small, we have extra money consistently (a good thing, however that means we can upgrade our life) and everything is starting to get old and break. (Most of the stuff we have are hand-me-downs and 5 year old wedding gifts)

So, ridding my life of stuff is not in the bones. I mean, living in a one room house with nothing in it other then my computer that is less then 5 years old...well yeah, upgrade tiem!

Pika...
2009-09-30, 10:32 AM
Well, in all honestly all I would want in life is a wife, kids, and my college degree to keep them happy, roofed, and well fed. Hence why I like the idea of a small little town somewhere to devote myself 24/7 to them.

Failing that, I genuinely like the idea of having a robe/hood, a backpack, some clothes, a secret pocket for a debit card, and an extra pair of shoes and just wondering aimlessly. Would that count as minimalist?



p.s. After looking around my home initially thinking "there would be nothing if I even tried giving away 100 things" I am noticing just how much stuff is in one single room.

Mauve Shirt
2009-09-30, 10:47 AM
Does the batcave count as a collection?

Trog
2009-09-30, 11:05 AM
Does the batcave count as a collection?
I don't think Bruce Wayne is anywhere near able to meet this challenge even if he counted the batcave as one item. :smalltongue:

Pika...
2009-09-30, 11:08 AM
I don't think Bruce Wayne is anywhere near able to meet this challenge even if he counted the batcave as one item. :smalltongue:

Really?

Couldn't he just go upstairs, toss out some priceless vases, a gold statue of himself, and some items from his Scrooge Mecduck-like vaults?

Trog
2009-09-30, 11:14 AM
Really?

Couldn't he just go upstairs, toss out some priceless vases, a gold statue of himself, and some items from his Scrooge Mecduck-like vaults?
He could I suppose but living in Wayne Manor means that there is a great deal of furniture, knickknacks, artwork, etc. in each of those rooms. So as it stands now I don't think Bruce Wayne, as commonly depicted, would meet it as is. Anyone can rise to the challenge and meet it though, if they chose to do so.

Hmm... Alfred probably doesn't count as a thing, though, being a person and all. *thinks about this some more*

Erloas
2009-09-30, 11:14 AM
If a collection only counts as 1 think I think most people would have a hard time having more then 100 things.

Having $1500+ in painting and modeling things for wargames is by no means minimalistic, however if it only counts as 1 item out of 100 that leaves a lot left.

I could easily give up my DVD collection (which consists of a full 3 DVDs) to free up an item, but thats hardly the same thing as giving up an entire hobby.

Its especially not minimalistic when you are talking about certain hobbies like camping if you are hauling a 35' 5th-wheel trailer that cost $100k and requires a $50k truck to pull, not to mention all the other stuff that would go inside it. Would that be counted as 1 item, maybe 2? (I don't own anything like that... but they are common around here) Maybe if you are talking about camping with a very small tent and the bare necessities, but there is a wide range of things that all fall under the same category of camping and are all part of a single collection of goods for said hobby.

As for stuff I use regularly and wouldn't give up, it would be easy to have less then 100 things. I still wouldn't even have a TV if someone hadn't given it to me, and I only bought a couch because its hard to have people over if you've only got 1 chair. Some cloths and normal household goods, a computer, and a few hobbies are all I really need, and really all I have. Of course a number of my hobbies are far from minimalistic.

Pika...
2009-09-30, 11:24 AM
He could I suppose but living in Wayne Manor means that there is a great deal of furniture, knickknacks, artwork, etc. in each of those rooms. So as it stands now I don't think Bruce Wayne, as commonly depicted, would meet it as is. Anyone can rise to the challenge and meet it though, if they chose to do so.

Hmm... Alfred probably doesn't count as a thing, though, being a person and all. *thinks about this some more*

Yeah. Again, I never realized just how much stuff is in a single room until I read your initial post. At first I thought I'd have nothing left in my home if I tossed out a hundred things/collections, but it seems like that might not be so.


ps. I am guessing that life style leaves a lot of leftover income every month?

Erloas
2009-09-30, 11:34 AM
He could I suppose but living in Wayne Manor means that there is a great deal of furniture, knickknacks, artwork, etc. in each of those rooms. So as it stands now I don't think Bruce Wayne, as commonly depicted, would meet it as is. Anyone can rise to the challenge and meet it though, if they chose to do so.

Hmm... Alfred probably doesn't count as a thing, though, being a person and all. *thinks about this some more*

Well what if he just defines them as collections. He has one collection of chairs and couches, one collection of priceless vases, one collection of tapestries and paintings, one collection of random knickknacks, and he just spreads them out over many different rooms.
We could over simply it some more and simply say he collects fully furnished rooms.

In that regard I don't really see most of those things as any different then a collection of books. Would each couch count as a different item just because they are big? Cost might come into it, but someone could easily spend thousands of dollars on book collections, especially if there is anything rather rare and unusual in the collection.

If you really wanted to be minimalistic it would have to be 100 items total and a collection is worth how many ever items are in it. It would also have to include all of your basic needs goods because that is easily something that can be used to hide a lot of things. What one person thinks is a necessity is not the same as the next person.

Then there is even some ways around that. If a book collection is worth 1 item for every book... well then what about a computer or kindle that is a single item but may hold hundreds or thousands of different books. You might be changing the medium in which it is being presented, but you aren't actually giving anything up by making them digital instead of normal print.

SDF
2009-09-30, 11:35 AM
I suppose I could, I don't use that many items on a day to day basis. But, I have absolutely no desire to live that way. I'm not drowning in crap, and there are some items like medication that, sure I could throw out, ... I would die ... iuno. Sometimes what constitutes an item is fairly ubiquitous. For example; I could always upload CDs to my computer or find the music online. I still have the music, but without a hard copy does it still count as owning the item? Legally, yes it does, otherwise they would have a hard time prosecuting music pirates. Others argue it does not. Not sure I'd ever want to be without my music to live a minimalist life.

Ichneumon
2009-09-30, 11:42 AM
I could do without many things, as long as I have my laptop and the internet.

Jacklu
2009-09-30, 11:48 AM
Counting collections as one thing, I am waaaaaay bellow the 100 things mark. <.< Jacklu is poor. >.> Things cost money. Nuff said.

Trog
2009-09-30, 11:49 AM
If a collection only counts as 1 think I think most people would have a hard time having more then 100 things.
You'd be surprised. :smallamused: I think many here on the forums could do so simply because they might still live at home or in the dorms. Having only one room for your stuff makes the 100 things thing not as much of an issue I would imagine.

Having $1500+ in painting and modeling things for wargames is by no means minimalistic, however if it only counts as 1 item out of 100 that leaves a lot left.

I could easily give up my DVD collection (which consists of a full 3 DVDs) to free up an item, but thats hardly the same thing as giving up an entire hobby.
That is why that collection rule was made - precisely because people don't want to give up their Collections and hobbies which usually involve a lot of things. :smallwink:


Its especially not minimalistic when you are talking about certain hobbies like camping if you are hauling a 35' 5th-wheel trailer that cost $100k and requires a $50k truck to pull, not to mention all the other stuff that would go inside it. Would that be counted as 1 item, maybe 2? (I don't own anything like that... but they are common around here) Maybe if you are talking about camping with a very small tent and the bare necessities, but there is a wide range of things that all fall under the same category of camping and are all part of a single collection of goods for said hobby.
Actually the guy who originated the the 100 Thing Challenge does go camping and did include his camping stuff in his 100 things. I linked his site which includes his 100 thing list in the first post if you are interested in how he broke that down. :smallsmile:

valadil
2009-09-30, 11:54 AM
I'm pretty picky about what I'll collect. And I don't like wasting house space for items I don't really need. But I go all out on things that are worth the space. ie I have two computer monitors. I absolutely use them both.

Trog
2009-09-30, 11:57 AM
Well what if he just defines them as collections. He could, I suppose but I think that is getting away from the point.


If you really wanted to be minimalistic it would have to be 100 items total and a collection is worth how many ever items are in it.
Agreed. But then again I didn't make up the challenge itself. The guy had far more than 100 things originally and the challenge was to live with no more than 100 things for a year. He drew the line in some odd places, I agree, but then again he is married and may also have kids and it was his challenge, not their challenge and so doing things like tossing out the couch and all the silverware except one knife and one spork and the like didn't happen for obvious, marriage-saving reasons. :smalltongue:


Then there is even some ways around that. If a book collection is worth 1 item for every book... well then what about a computer or kindle that is a single item but may hold hundreds or thousands of different books. You might be changing the medium in which it is being presented, but you aren't actually giving anything up by making them digital instead of normal print.
A Kindle would count as one thing. Electronic minimalism is not included in this challenge. Though I for one like to abide by it myself (desktop shot (http://home.centurytel.net/jeffsjunk/0909desktop.png)). :smallwink:

@v Not once the purging is done with. Though keeping yourself to the arbitrary rule of 100 would be sort of annoying, yes.

Pyrian
2009-09-30, 11:59 AM
Honestly, the whole thing sounds like more work and more things to worry about, which seems like the very opposite of the point.

Totally Guy
2009-09-30, 12:13 PM
ps. I am guessing that life style leaves a lot of leftover income every month?

I used to get nearly an months wage extra a year from the interest.

Then I started getting paid a little more and the credit crunch meant I was getting a lot less. I've been siphoning my leftover income into another account so that I can pretend I'm getting an extra months wage a year.


My policy is to never own an item that is not worthy of being owned by me. Now I've got to explain that this is in no way me saying "only buy the best", instead it's about the cost and the value. If I want something I compare it with other items that I want and have and determine what it's worth to me. Then I seek about finding it or saving up to pay that price.

I want an iPod. But unfortunately it to me does not value it at it's retail costs. I mean I only own 5 CDs. I looked around for an alternative product but I just got confused. If the retailer has to confuse me for me to buy it, I'm not interested. Therefore, as things currently stand, I cannot own one because I'm not prepared to buy it.

My cool car. I found the one I wanted, took a look in April last year. I then bought it a year ago today after making sure it was worthy of my ownership.

I told my little brother about my little "me first" policy but he kind of got the wrong idea... he will only buy the best things. And it's not good. I meant it in one way but he thinks it's all about demanding the best, which it's not.

Ya Ta Hey!
2009-09-30, 12:24 PM
I bet whoever came up with that 100 things criteria had just finished moving into a new house.

Nothing kills the materialist urge like being in a U-Haul, balancing on one leg in some horrible semblance of the Heisman Trophy pose while your precariously balanced possesions attack you.


Anyway, I have a lot of superfluous stuff, but most of it is still with me out of a "Waste naught, want naught" mentality.

I can't think of anything that I could eliminate in a productive way like Goodwilling it, so whittling down to 100 things would just mean adding to the local landfill. That doesn't help anyone.

I can, however, fit all my possesions into the bed of a 4-cylinder pickup, if that helps redeem my ascetic-cred.

Jacklu
2009-09-30, 12:26 PM
If I was at home, I could probably list each item/collection I own here. I guarantee it would come out under 100. As I said, Jacklu lacks the money to afford things.

Hmmm... Do things like beds and toothbrushes count? They're not so much things owned as tools used for daily living. Much closer to stuff like plates and silverware in my mind.

SDF
2009-09-30, 12:35 PM
Hmmm... Do things like beds and toothbrushes count? They're not so much things owned as tools used for daily living. Much closer to stuff like plates and silverware in my mind.

From a practical standpoint this is a huge problem with the stated challenge of having <100 items and collections. Does a bed count? How about the mattress, pillow, and sheets on it. Sure you an live without a bed, sure you can live with a bed without sheets. Peripherals in general seem to add a huge wrench in the entire situation. The whole systems seems arbitrarily pointless to me. As arbitrary as the number 100.

Syka
2009-09-30, 12:49 PM
I'm a pack rat. I need to go through a purge my room of all the old high school stuff I have (old homework assignments and such) and that sort of thing. This may be useful for me, listing EVERYTHING I own and cutting out the fluff.

It'll also help with a move. >>

Erloas
2009-09-30, 12:55 PM
Hmmm... Do things like beds and toothbrushes count? They're not so much things owned as tools used for daily living. Much closer to stuff like plates and silverware in my mind.

Well the link with the idea he lists toothbrush, and breaks down clothing to individual pants and shirts (but groups for underwear, socks).

He lists quite a few things that most people wouldn't stop to count, but there is a lot that is obviously missing which I'm sure counts as "whole family goods." Things like beds, couches, TVs, and pots, pans, dishes, and cooking utensils other then the ones he specifically has for camping. Its easy enough to say he can't get rid of those things because of his family, but there are a lot of things there that make life much easier that are just not counted because of it. Things that would probably have to be counted if he were single instead.

Like he says he got rid of a pair of nose hair trimmers, then says he's just going to use a small pair of scissors that are keep in the bathroom all the time anyway that he isn't counting as anything.

He counts a desk lamp but that is it for lighting. Which might mean he isn't counting other reading lamps around the house, or it might simply mean he has good built in lighting in every room already. Hardly fair for one person to count room lighting because their home builder didn't run permanent lighting in the rooms where as someone else did. He also doesn't count any household tools like hammers, and screwdrivers, but then he counts individual pens and pencils. Maybe he lives in an apartment or simply isn't counting any outside the house sorts of goods like a lawn mower or fertilizer or hedge clippers or anything like that.

Jacklu
2009-09-30, 01:01 PM
*snip*

Ah, see, I didn't read the link. :smalltongue: Though based on your general overview there, it sounds like he is being somewhat arbitrary in what he decides to count or not. Some might call that cheating. Though I agree with the idea of uncluttered by getting rid of the fluff, it seems to me like holding this idea as some sort of golden rule is a bit ridiculous. Does he count medical equipment as well? Oxygen tanks or other specialized equipment that one might need? Cause it hardly seems fair to have half of ones available slots taken up by things one needs to stay alive.

Trog
2009-09-30, 01:10 PM
From a practical standpoint this is a huge problem with the stated challenge of having <100 items and collections. Does a bed count? How about the mattress, pillow, and sheets on it. Sure you an live without a bed, sure you can live with a bed without sheets. Peripherals in general seem to add a huge wrench in the entire situation. The whole systems seems arbitrarily pointless to me. As arbitrary as the number 100.
I think (and others are free to disagree with me here) that the point is to see how much stuff one can live without and to be conscious of accumulating too much stuff by setting some arbitrary limit. By picking an arbitrary number of possessions he limits himself from buying anything new to add to his possessions. At least for that year.

I don't necessary agree that this particular exercise with the rules as written is good for everyone, or even, for that matter, most people. For one, he could have set the bar practically anywhere to begin with. I have no idea how much stuff the originator of the contest had to purge to get in under the 100 mark. If it wasn't a lot it sort of negates the point. If he had to rid himself of a lot of things it could be worth while and if he rid himself of too many things it could be detrimental. Certainly the originator of the challenge has made the challenge only for himself and makes some arbitrary rules to protect certain things he does not want to see purged. Perhaps this was to set the number low enough to be challenging while not eliminating certain things with sentimental value? Not sure.

However, I think the sentiment behind doing the challenge is good. That is being conscious of how much you have and how that balances with how much you need. In short, not over-consuming and challenging yourself to see what things you have that you can live without.

I bet whoever came up with that 100 things criteria had just finished moving into a new house.

Nothing kills the materialist urge like being in a U-Haul, balancing on one leg in some horrible semblance of the Heisman Trophy pose while your precariously balanced possesions attack you.
Quoted for truth.

chiasaur11
2009-09-30, 01:12 PM
A collection of books - no matter how many you have - counts as one (1) item. As would any collection. For example I would count my DnD stuff as one thing and my collection of books of all kinds as one other thing. So so far I would only have 2 things. Clothes might be considered a collection I suppose, if you treat it as one. Some people have gone to the extreme and counted their clothes as individual items but left out underwear and socks.

So taking those guidelines into consideration could you do it Serp?

Alright then. Narrowed it down to two things.

Stuff.

Junk.

(Both, however, are very big things)

Trog
2009-09-30, 01:18 PM
Alright then. Narrowed it down to two things.

Stuff.

Junk.

(Both, however, are very big things)
Note to everyone on this thread:

Congratulations, you have all figured out how to cheat in this contest. You are all very clever and get one internet each. It can count as one item or can be added to your collection of internets. :smalltongue:

Now could you do it without cheating? :smallwink:

WalkingTarget
2009-09-30, 01:32 PM
Questions:

In what ways do you live minimally now?
What possessions would you have trouble minimizing and why?
Do you think you could ever undertake the 100 Thing Challenge wherein you reduce your possessions (not counting things used communally like dishes and such and counting collections of things such as your DnD book collection as one (1) item) to just 100 things? Specific details here (http://www.guynameddave.com/100-thing-challenge.html).


Well, I tend to not buy things just because they're in front of me and I have the money (as in, I'm still using the same 14" CRT monitor that I've had for 10+ years and will probably continue to do so until either it breaks or somebody gives me a better one, I've had offers by people to sell me their old flat panels for cheap, but not free). Same with the 19" TV I've had for 15+ years. My wardrobe is very simple (primarily solid-color t-shirts and jeans) and other than getting new clothes to replace ones that have worn out or no longer fit (due to weight loss, not gain, w00t! :smallsmile:) I'm wearing essentially the same outfit as ever. I have enough room in my apartment for more furniture and/or decoration, but I don't need it so I don't bother (no couch, nothing in the bedroom but a bed and one dining chair that has my alarm clock on it so it's up off the floor)

I'd have trouble getting rid of my books. I don't own as many as some of my friends, but I still have a considerable number and like having them there even if I don't reread them frequently. Counting them as only one thing seems like cheating to me. Also my car and my computer. The only friends I have in the city I live in are people I met through work, and I have a strong tendency to keep personal and professional relationships separate, so I rely on internet communication/gaming and the occasional roadtrip for my social interactions.

The 100-thing challenge might be tough and depends on how granular we get. I'm not giving up my books, so that's only going to work if we limit to 3 "collections" for normal books, comics, and RPG books. Do toiletries count as a collection or individual items (razor, shaving cream, toothbrush, hairbrush, etc)? I don't have things that are "communal" as the guy in that article uses the word since I live by myself and don't have visitors. I have maybe 2 dozen shirts, but they're all interchangeable and only exist in those numbers to keep from having to do laundry too often. Same with other articles of clothing. Most of the little keepsake-type things I have are small (like, all of them I own would probably fit in a backpack, if I owned a backpack).

Erloas
2009-09-30, 07:01 PM
I have no idea how much stuff the originator of the contest had to purge to get in under the 100 mark. If it wasn't a lot it sort of negates the point. If he had to rid himself of a lot of things it could be worth while and if he rid himself of too many things it could be detrimental. Certainly the originator of the challenge has made the challenge only for himself and makes some arbitrary rules to protect certain things he does not want to see purged. Perhaps this was to set the number low enough to be challenging while not eliminating certain things with sentimental value? Not sure.

Well he said he had a specific "sentimental" box that he had planned for that purpose but only really have a few things in it anyway.
He also listed all of the stuff he got rid of, it was only 60ish items. A lot of them seemed to be cloths too.

There were some odd distinctions too, he counts his camera and the SD card for it as seperate items, and counts his old SLR camera with extra lenses, a carrying bag, and tripod seperately. All of which seem to go together and be a single item and are really co-dependant to function. But then he mentions 2 computers and a printer but makes no mention of keyboards, or mice, he doesn't mention the modem that must be there nor the router needed to use both of them.

He makes no mention at all of any kind of decorative items, no pictures, no nickknacks, no dressers, no alarm clocks. He mentions 3 different bibles and a personal journal then classifies what is assumable a very large collection of other books as a single item and lets it go, most like he was showing off what items were important to him more then anything.

It sounded mostly like he just decided to only take into account things around the house that were very clearly only his and only count those. And anyone with a wife and kid(s) has probably given up on the idea of most things actually being theirs and most of it is everyones.

Given the sort of things he seems to be counting, and the list of things he decided to give up, it really doesn't seem like he gave up much at all. Giving up extra pens and pencils doesn't do much for consumerism or saving money, but its something he mentioned.
The biggest culprits for consumerism isn't things he even mentioned. Things like eating out all the time and specifically where you eat out at, he mentions his car but nothing about giving up excessive driving or driving to work by himself every day instead of carpooling. He doesn't say if he only buys name brand shoes or soft drinks or eats piles of junk food every day. He doesn't say if he has replaced his washer and dryer, microwave and fridge every 5 years because they are getting old (which some people do even with those types of items that easily last 10-15 years). Same with things like furniture of all sorts, a lot of heavy consumers replace them long before they are at their end of life. He doesn't say if he is spending $200 a month for lots of TV channels, and makes no mention of a TV at all, which is of course a community item, but there is a big difference from having a single modest TV in a house and having a 60" in the living room and the one his wife wanted in their room and the one the kid has in their room with their own computer and their xbox/PSX/Nintendo.

The fact that he owned 3 Apple computers between himself and his wife (he mentioned his wifes iMac and his MacBook pro, and the G4 he got rid of) but I'm going to assume his kids have a/some computer(s) of their own implies that hes already got a lot of consumerism out of the way and just picked a time period he wouldn't have to worry about that sort of stuff in. Having 3 Apple computers really shows a lack of price sensitivity of purchases in the not too distant past. It is easy to not buy anything new for a while when you've already bought most of the stuff you need anyway. He also has Bose headphones, and while they are probably very nice, they are probably some of the most expensive headphones on the market and knowing Bose probably 4x the price of other headphones of decent quality. A huge part of consumerism is buying the best of the best because you can/want to, ignoring the fact that there are a lot of other products out there that are a lot cheaper for a very similar final product.

Trog
2009-09-30, 08:01 PM
Well he said he had a specific "sentimental" box that he had planned for that purpose but only really have a few things in it anyway.
He also listed all of the stuff he got rid of, it was only 60ish items. A lot of them seemed to be cloths too.
Ah. Interesting. And see here I was thinking he must have gotten rid of a bunch of stuff for this to even generate the little buzz it did. 60 things purged isn't much at all. Heck I got rid of more than that out of my garage recently and didn't bat an eye about it. :smallconfused:

If you put it in terms of the -actual- sacrifice of goods getting rid of 60 things isn't much for anyone to do, especially if they have an excess of stuff to begin with. I imagine a good spring cleaning could amount to close to that for most people. Lame.

The fact that he owned 3 Apple computers between himself and his wife (he mentioned his wifes iMac and his MacBook pro, and the G4 he got rid of) but I'm going to assume his kids have a/some computer(s) of their own implies that hes already got a lot of consumerism out of the way and just picked a time period he wouldn't have to worry about that sort of stuff in. Having 3 Apple computers really shows a lack of price sensitivity of purchases in the not too distant past.
Having a Mac doesn't mean you are price insensitive. I spent less for my Mac laptop than for my crappy PC that my kids use.

skywalker
2009-10-01, 12:41 AM
Well, I love minimalism as an architectural style. I think this "100 thing challenge" is a bit silly, I mean, if you need more than 100 things, you need more than 100 things. I think it's far more satisfying to explore the architectural side of things, since you could be living with your 100 things in a house that is way too big, or has all the wrong things for you. Clean lines, simple colors... That's the kind of minimalism I love.

I appreciate the idea of having clean, fresh space, but also understand the danger of having too much space and nothing to fill it with. Having the right balance begins with realizing how much stuff you have, and then creating a space in which to put it. Frequently, trying to go the opposite way doesn't work. In America, we tend to be afraid of being "too minimalist," since it could affect our home's resale value. I think this frequently makes us hedge our bets, and create something that isn't minimal enough to please me, and isn't... "baroque" enough to please my mom, for example.

Erloas
2009-10-01, 08:53 AM
Having a Mac doesn't mean you are price insensitive. I spent less for my Mac laptop than for my crappy PC that my kids use.

Apple products are self-defined as luxury goods, and luxury goods are not minimalistic. As for your specific example, I would have to see the context in which that statement is made to even start to believe it. Like my high end PC cost less then my grandparents old crappy PC did, but their old crappy PC was purchased 10 years ago so a direct price comparison is meaningless. Also I didn't mean a complete lack of price sensitivity, but it is clearly not the most important factor or probably the top 3.




Really the 100 item metric is meaningless.
You could trade a '96 Geo Metro for a 2009 F-250 and it is still just 1 item, but the new item is not minimalistic in any way.
He mentions a specific pen and pencil, but the pen is obviously a high end pen. Does having 20 pens and pencils, 1 box of each from a store, which is maybe $5 total and spread out in various places you might need them mean that you aren't minimalistic? Consider that they will last years and you can easily spend two or three times that amount on a single pen. Its more wasteful to toss things like that then keep them around. And when you compare it to spending $5 a day on Starbucks coffee, something that would not end up on the list, its clear that the coffee is much more consumeristic but doesn't count at all.

Trog
2009-10-01, 10:47 AM
Apple products are self-defined as luxury goods, and luxury goods are not minimalistic. As for your specific example, I would have to see the context in which that statement is made to even start to believe it. Like my high end PC cost less then my grandparents old crappy PC did, but their old crappy PC was purchased 10 years ago so a direct price comparison is meaningless. Also I didn't mean a complete lack of price sensitivity, but it is clearly not the most important factor or probably the top 3.
I certainly hope when you say that it is a luxury product you are referring to the fact that computers as a whole are luxury items. However, if you are strictly going on a cost standpoint for your definition of minimalist it all depends on where you want to draw the line. For an average family in the U.S. a computer of any sort is often the norm. For a poor family in Africa it would be the greatest luxury.

If, instead, you are trying to bait for another internet Mac vs. PC debate I'll pass thanks. 9_9

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In what ways do you live minimally now?
Well there's a lot of ways you can define minimalism.

Minimal Architecture and Interior Design:
I tend to like minimalist architecture and interior design but I run into the frequent problem of these sorts of things being way over priced. There are, however, some nice home plans out there that cost no more than your typical stick built homes that fit this bill of minimalist style but I question whether they will be affordable to maintain or not. One design I like has far too much glass to make me comfortable that it will not leak heat like a sieve in the winter.

So instead I am tending toward looking at houses that are designed, perhaps not minimally from a visual design standpoint, but instead from a minimal energy cost standpoint with features such as a solar water heater and a lot of thermal mass so the building stays more uniform in temperature and needs less fuel to stay comfortable. These, too are in the spendy realm at the moment but some of these features are slowly coming down in price.

Right now I simply rent. I keep my furnishings and decorations (when I have them) to a minimum. My bedroom, for example, is mostly bare of furniture and contains only a couple of lamps, a chest of drawers, and my bed. I prefer clean lines and mostly bare horizontal surfaces. Basically I make due with what I have and just try to keep it looking clean and neat.

My Computers:
I like my desktop to be free of icons and my computers stripped of anything that I do not use (if I know and can find out how to remove it, that is). With my PC this is a little harder to do because my kids have programs they like and want to keep on the computer that, were it mine, I would toss. But since they use it far more than I do I can live with that if they can. I tend to prefer simple, solid color backgrounds as well. I'm not an OS warrior so when it comes to this OS or that OS uses less code to do the job or what have you I really don't care so much as I don't fiddle with the underlying code ever, just the gui. So there may be more minimal systems out there in that sense but for me that isn't as big of a deal I guess.

Minimal Possessions
I probably don't do as good of a job at this as I should. I try to keep purging out things I have mistakenly kept around for sentimental reasons that no longer mean anything to me. That's usually where I have the most clutter. Over the past few years I have reduced this steadily and will continue to do so. I'd like to get to the point where anything that does not have a proper place in a room somewhere can be reduced down to maybe a single small closet full at most. Boxes of old books and notebooks and such right now are my biggest offenders, probably.

Minimal Environmental Footprint:
Well for a long time I drove a '93 Geo Metro (bought new way back when) which got a whopping 55 mpg. It was also made out of aluminum and styrofoam. I wish I was kidding about the styrofoam bit. But that got totaled (luckily no one was in it when it was) and now I drive another small, fuel-efficient-ish car (after the Metro nearly -everything- feels like it's fuel INefficient).

I recycle whatever I can and give old clothes and such to Goodwill where they might get reused. Also if something breaks around the house and is beyond fixing I try to recycle it if I can and replace it with a better, possibly more long-term item. Buying more durable products mean they last longer and therefore you have to buy fewer products in the long-run which means less landfill waste and such.

What possessions would you have trouble minimizing and why?
Well books and old notebooks are my big offenders right now. Some of them I've been trying to work my way up to getting rid of but still have difficulty parting with. I couldn't do without my computer and internet service. I have a TV but it is only for my kids' video games and for the occasional movie watching - I do not have cable and haven't watched TV in my own home on the actual TV for a couple of years now. There are a couple of shows I watch online though.

Do you think you could ever undertake the 100 Thing Challenge wherein you reduce your possessions to just 100 things?
Probably would not ever do it. Mainly for the oft cited problem of this number being arbitrary and not some magic number to achieve that will confer special benefits upon the person who does so. Add to that all the arbitrary rules that got tacked on to this project and the inconsistency of how things are counted some as a group and some not and you eliminate the point of the thing altogether.

If, however, I was forced to do this and got to go by the same rules that the original guy made for himself I'm sure I could find just as many loopholes as he did though. I could call all those boxes of books I don't want to get rid of just yet "memorabilia" since it is precisely for sentimental reasons that I do not want to get rid of them and label many other things "communal" and squeak by there too. If I used his same reasoning I probably would only need to reduce my already small wardrobe down a notch or so and I'd be there. *shrug*

Jack Squat
2009-10-01, 11:29 AM
I certainly hope when you say that it is a luxury product you are referring to the fact that computers as a whole are luxury items. However, if you are strictly going on a cost standpoint for your definition of minimalist it all depends on where you want to draw the line. For an average family in the U.S. a computer of any sort is often the norm. For a poor family in Africa it would be the greatest luxury.

If, instead, you are trying to bait for another internet Mac vs. PC debate I'll pass thanks. 9_9

While I see your point, I believe he's just referring to the fact that Apple products are generally priced higher than similar items of other brands. They're more of a "luxury" good because of this. They're not marketed as utilitarian devices, but as a status symbol. A very good example is the "I'm a Mac" commercials, where the PC is a middle-aged office worker type, and the Mac is a hip 20-something.

I know your line of work more or less requires using a Mac (less now than 10 years ago, but still), but for the average family PCs are the more economical - and thus minimalistic- solution. Of course, if someone really wanted to argue minimalistic computers, netbooks running Linux are the clear winner; as for $100 you can have something that lets you type up papers, check email, and surf the web.

Not that any of this is relevant, since if one really wants to be minimalistic, all of this can be accomplished at a library for free.

Totally Guy
2009-10-01, 11:31 AM
I think the idea is to prioritise quality over quantity. It's not a vow of poverty.

Lets say you own a broken radio. Why? Can you get it repaired? Why did it break? If I wanted fewer items I'd make sure I was buying things that would be less likely to break.

Jacklu
2009-10-01, 11:32 AM
Should this thread end when it reaches 100 replies? :smallwink:

13_CBS
2009-10-01, 12:00 PM
In what ways do you live minimally now?

All I really need are my laptop, a good internet connection, some cash, a bed to sleep on, and my college dorm. The rest are unnecessary.



What possessions would you have trouble minimizing and why?


Computer files. Too...many...games...



Do you think you could ever undertake the 100 Thing Challenge wherein you reduce your possessions[/B] (not counting things used communally like dishes and such and counting collections of things such as your DnD book collection as one (1) item) to just 100 things? Specific details here (http://www.guynameddave.com/100-thing-challenge.html).


If you count my clothes as 1 item (I certainly do) then it's down to...

Laptop and its files and accessories
Clothes
Money
Phone
Blankets

...aaand that's about it.

Erloas
2009-10-01, 12:23 PM
If, instead, you are trying to bait for another internet Mac vs. PC debate I'll pass thanks. 9_9
I was specifically trying to avoid that, but it happens whenever both are brought up. And as least for most of the industrial world computers are more a necessity then a luxury, but even with necessity items there are luxury versions. Apple markets their computers as much as a luxury item as anything else and price accordingly. Their whole "we can't make a $500 computer" comments reinforces that thought. There are also plenty of luxury PC models and brands, I would have said the same thing if he had said Alienware or Falcon computer too. They might not be as luxury as a Masarati compared to a Fusion, but they are more so then buying energy drinks over store brand pops.



My Computers:
I like my desktop to be free of icons and my computers stripped of anything that I do not use (if I know and can find out how to remove it, that is). With my PC this is a little harder to do because my kids have programs they like and want to keep on the computer that, were it mine, I would toss. But since they use it far more than I do I can live with that if they can. I tend to prefer simple, solid color backgrounds as well.
I'm actually almost opposite on this, I don't like a lot of icons for everything on a computer (like people that make shortcuts for every spread sheet and document they've been using in the last month) but I do keep icons for every program I use regularly. Visually there might be more clutter, but functionally it is much more minimalistic since it takes fewer clicks and less time to get to the programs I use regularly. I'm also not likely to remove a lot of things that don't take up a lot of space even if I don't use them very much. Space not being an issue its easier and faster to leave something there that I might want in the future then to remove it and end up reinstalling it later. Of course the common "bloatware" never ends up on my computer in the first place since I build them myself and they never have a chance of being installed.

Minimal Possessions
Eh. Other then a few hobbies I do. I don't buy a lot of unnecessary things outside of a computer, fishing things and TT wargames. Even with those things I buy a lot less a lot of other people doing the same things. Proportionately it is also a lot less of my income then a lot of other people to. There are a lot of hobbies I'm kind of interested in that I don't do because I don't feel I would use them enough to justify the time/space/money required to do them.

Minimal Environmental Footprint:
I generate a lot less trash then most of my neighbors. I only drive my truck when I really need to and don't use it for a normal commute vehicle, the fact that I have 2 vehicles for one person is not all that minimalistic. (main reason I bought the truck in the first place was to move, I found it was only marginally more expensive to buy a used truck then it was to rent a u-haul for a 1000 mile drive and the extra cost to insurance is negligible since it is not a primary vehicle)

I do what I can to minimize unnecessary driving. I don't leave computers, TVs, etc on when they aren't in use. I keep my temperature controls in winter and summer at modest levels. Of course I do most of that stuff to save money rather then specifically because of environmental impact. Recycling is limited here because the community isn't big enough to make it economically viable to recycle a wide variety of things.

What possessions would you have trouble minimizing and why?
Pretty much my hobbies. I wouldn't have too hard of a time giving them up if I had to for money reasons though. For most of them though there is nothing to gain from getting rid of the stuff, only from not getting more. Even without extra money I don't gain anything from giving up a 40k army I already have built and loosing the ability to play at all.

Do you think you could ever undertake the 100 Thing Challenge wherein you reduce your possessions to just 100 things?
As Trog said, an arbitrarily picked number with ill-defined rules is mostly meaningless. If the goal is to promote awareness of consumerism and unnecessary purchasing there are a lot of better ways to do it. Its also something I'm already aware of and I don't see what revelations this sort of challenge could possible bring to me. Supporting yourself with a part time job while going to school full time can teach you all of the same things and you get something useful out of it when you are done, a college education. (something I've already done)

skywalker
2009-10-01, 01:05 PM
While I see your point, I believe he's just referring to the fact that Apple products are generally priced higher than similar items of other brands. They're more of a "luxury" good because of this. They're not marketed as utilitarian devices, but as a status symbol. A very good example is the "I'm a Mac" commercials, where the PC is a middle-aged office worker type, and the Mac is a hip 20-something.

From an aesthetic standpoint, however, Macs tend to be the far more minimalist option.

Trog
2009-10-01, 02:52 PM
I disagree, again, with the idea that Apple markets the Mac as a "luxury" item. They never say "buy a mac because you will get a special status because of it" or "buy a mac because it's expensive and people will ooh and ah over it" they say "buy a mac because it's a better product." And they charge appropriately (sometimes) for that difference, imo. Your opinion may vary on that.

All items try to market themselves as something consumers want to the exclusion of other similar items. This is one of the basic underlying principles in advertising, my profession for over 12 years. Microsoft does it too... but they aren't as good at it. Frankly not many companies come close to Apple's marketing. Not that Microsoft needs to be worried as their OS dominates the personal computing realm.

The key issue here seems to be price. I will not deny that some Macs are more expensive than some other computers. They are. Some PC and Macs alike are out of my price range. Which brings us right back to my original point of it depends on how much you can afford. It's all subjective and dependent on where you draw the line between affordable and not for you.

In sort, gentleman, I think we will have to agree to disagree on this point and move on. :smallwink: