Open Thinkering


Stripping back: #divest12

I like the idea of minimalism. I always have done.

Just look at this:

Minimalist apartment

But it’s difficult, isn’t it? You collect things that are necessary at some point in your life (or that you desire) and then end up hanging on to them. Usually the reason we do this is because they have monetary and/or emotional value.

Back in 2009 I decided to spend a week ‘divesting’. Amongst other things I got rid of hundreds of CDs and books as well as really focusing on the software and hardware I use day-to-day. It was a liberating feeling getting rid of so much. I realised that, in effect, I was a librarian for my books rather than a reader of them. The relationship was the wrong way around. The same went for CDs, DVDs, and other stuff I owned.

Now fast-forward to last week when I ready about Andrew Hyde’s extreme minimalism. Never mind 100 things or 50 things, he owns 15 things. Yes, fifteen. Here’s his ‘floorderobe’:

Andrew Hyde's 15 things

If what I’m doing is the thin end of the wedge, this is very much the thick end of it!

I suppose the question everyone wants to ask is What counts as ‘one thing’?

The “rule” of ownership is the express-lane checkout rule. If you were checking out in a grocery store, what would be counted as one item in your bag? A six-pack of beer would be one, right? I count my things as resellable items I would be pissed if someone took.

Coffee cup? No. Jacket? Yes. iPhone and headphones? One thing. Simple enough?

Whilst 15 things is not my ultimate goal, I am making a conscious start to declutter and divest. Yesterday alone I took two bin bags full of clothes to the recycling bank, identified 52 books from my study to get rid of, and made an inventory of my electronic gadgetry with a view to consolidating.

I’d like to:

  • Reclaim some physical space
  • Feel less of a ‘curatorial’ burden
  • Be less concerned about the monetary value of my stuff

Want to join me? Add a comment below, write about it on your own blog or just use the #divest12 hashtag on Twitter or Google+!

Image CC BY Andrew-Hyde

6 thoughts on “Stripping back: #divest12

  1. I’ve been gradually getting rid of things for about 12 years… when my parents had to move out of the (rather large) house we’d lived in for years – and thus the attic was full of “stuff” that I didn’t need! I go in cycles of getting rid of “stuff” – other times I come back from charity shops laden with books… and off we go again! I think I gradually get better at NOT buying things! One thing I’ve done is get some smallish boxes – put things in them, in the cupboard. If I haven’t missed them in 2 years… 

  2. Bout every year I clean out my closet, but lately I’ve been having the feeling that I need to clean out the rest of my apartment.  Especially the books.  They sit on my shelves like trophies, but they would be much better off in somebody else’s hands, since I never read anything twice (except Shogun…that rocks!).  Time for a pre-spring ousting…

  3. When I rented the landlords would keep putting the rent up, which meant I moved approximately once a year – this is a great way of keeping the amount of ‘stuff’ you have down. Bit stressful though!

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