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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Minimalism   Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:51 pm

Dale's post about digital vs. hard copy got me to thinking. I've been researching a lot recently into minimalism. Not the music, writing or art styles, but minimal living.

The first week of November, the wife and I went to Gatlinburg and stayed in a secluded cabin for three days and nights. We had no wi-fi, no TV (although we had a DVD player, we only had one movie with us), and no phone service (i.e. no Facebook, no Discogs, no CHM...).

It really showed me how much I do and have that I don't need. That doesn't bring me joy or utility. It's stuff for the sake of stuff. I'm getting to the point that I think I may just start getting rid of stuff I don't need or that I don't absolutely love. My bookshelf, my cd's and DVD's, just the stuff.

I've also been reading Mr. Money Mustache's blog (warning: he uses dirty words if that bothers you...) and he advocates this. He stopped spending on stuff he didn't need and ended up saving about 65% of his annual earnings. He retired before he was 40 and now lives on his dividends from some investments and his savings and just does whatever he wants.

Anybody have any experience with this kind of thing?
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alldatndensum
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PostSubject: Re: Minimalism   Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:54 pm

I don't have any experience with it but need to learn.  I will show up on an episode of "Hoarders" someday if I am not careful.

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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Minimalism   Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:30 pm

I hear ya alldat. We have "in case we need it sometime" stuff. I have a bookshelf with books two deep on 4 shelves and CD's and music DVD's on another - also 2 deep.

I've found that the less I allow myself to buy, the less I want to buy when the opportunity arises. I end up only buying something I really want. And then I enjoy it so much more.

Recently I started building a collection of blues music. I have some stuff I love (Glenn Kaiser/GKB, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Blind Willie Johnson, Albert King) and I have several albums just because of their historical value to the genre. I may like a song or two or three, but I don't care for the album as a whole. Why don't I get rid of the stuff I don't listen to and free up some space - both in my house and in my music listening time.

The other thing is consumables. We eat out more than we should, we get coffee or tea or soda at Starbucks or Panera or QT too much... We have more vehicle than we need.

I'm just ready to live more simply.
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BearDad



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PostSubject: Re: Minimalism   Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:58 pm

No experiences, but sometimes I dream of coming home and finding the house burnt down. Some would call that tragic, but I would considered it a reboot. In the meantime, barring tragedy, we continue to have too much stuff. I keep threatening to have a liquidation sale where I open the garage and say "make an offer." 

So how do you know you have too much stuff? When your kid requires two vehicles to go to college because she has too much stuff, and even then her room at home isn't empty! When I went to school I had a suitcase.


Last edited by BearDad on Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:12 am; edited 1 time in total
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MikeInFla

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PostSubject: Re: Minimalism   Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:01 am

I have tons of CD's. Some I have had since I started buying them around 1986. I rarely trade them off or get rid of them. In fact, some of them have never been opened and are still in the shrink wrap and have been sitting there for over 12 years now. But -- I didn't buy those, I used to work at a classic rock radio station and the unopened ones are all freebies (some of it like Donna Summer, Boys II Men, stuff like that -- I don't know why they sent it to a classic rock station but I never complained about free product). My intention was to hold on to those and then trade them for something I really wanted. And I have done that but there is nowhere to trade them in anymore other than FYE and they are not worth my time or trouble. 

So I guess I need to downsize somewhat, we do not even have a working CD player in the house anymore. Our vehicles have them and that's where we play them. But I also play a ton from my phone or iPod. And now that I have Amazon Prime a lot of music is free. 

The way I see it they aren't really hurting anything by sitting there. And I don't buy near as much music as I used to. These days I mostly buy records (used, sometimes new) and I have even slowed down buying those. The last CD I bought was Michael Sweet's CD because Amazon had it for 9 bucks. But some stuff I'll look for it for free on Prime or just download the mp3's if it is something I don't really want a physical copy of. 

We rented a cabin last month too. But it had cable, wifi, phone service, everything. 

But I see the point of unloading a lot of stuff. It's just that I don't really want to do it. Like alldat said, if there was a Hoarders episode with him in it then I would be on the second half hour.
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messiaen77

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PostSubject: Re: Minimalism   Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:57 am

This has been a real source of tension in our household.  My wife theoretically wants to do this.  Before we moved here she said she wanted for us to get rid of about half of what we have.  So while packing, I got rid of a bunch of books and papers I didn't need/want anymore, she brought 15 draft hard copies of her master's thesis.  I sold or gave away a bunch of CDs, she brought her undergrad biology and differential equations textbooks in case she needed them (as a sociology professor?).  I got rid of clothes that didn't fit or I was not ever going to wear again (and probably shouldn't have worn in the first place), she brought storage crates full of clothes in a wide range of sizes and eras so she would have options (even though we both know she was never going to wear that animal print blouse from her senior pictures ever again).  So I got rid of maybe a third of my stuff, she got rid of nothing.  Now she's back to we need to get rid of half of our stuff by February yet I'm the only one going through my stuff and she doesn't want to get rid of any of the kids' toys unless they want to get rid of it (yeah, good luck there), so it is going to be another case where I'm downsizing alone.  I used to want stuff just to have it, but now it is really more trouble than it is worth.  

That being said, I'm definitely a digital hoarder.  I've got program downloads from 08 sitting on my hard drive and I just cannot pass up a free mp3.
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topshot rhit



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PostSubject: Re: Minimalism   Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:48 pm

ishmael81 wrote:
I've also been reading Mr. Money Mustache's blog (warning: he uses dirty words if that bothers you...)
Glad you've gotten something out of it. I've always thought of myself as fairly thrifty but have still failed to save much. I've tried to downsize/minimize in several spurts over the years. One of the biggest came after Katrina when I did a lot of relief work. I have remodeled my house to be more energy efficient. We drive cars with lots of miles on them. Since reading MMM about a year ago, the most noticeable changes have been biking to work as often as I can (usually 4 days/week), setting the thermostat even lower/higher than I already was doing, reducing our cell phone bill by $50/month, moving nearly all of our investments into index funds and turning off the water while washing during showers.

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topshot rhit



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PostSubject: Re: Minimalism   Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:56 pm

messiaen77 wrote:
Now she's back to we need to get rid of half of our stuff by February yet I'm the only one going through my stuff and she doesn't want to get rid of any of the kids' toys unless they want to get rid of it (yeah, good luck there), so it is going to be another case where I'm downsizing alone.

Just a thought but maybe it seems overwhelming to her so she doesn't know where to start. My wife recognizes when that happens to her and asks for my help to play "Keep or Pitch". As for toys, if you haven't seen them play with it for a few months, out it goes. Case closed. If they're like most US kids they have way too many things anyway.

The real key though is not to buy any MORE stuff or only what is really NEEDED. You can't save a ton otherwise. So having lots of things cluttering the house isn't any big deal. You've already lost that money and likely won't get much if you sold it (though every little bit helps).

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messiaen77

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PostSubject: Re: Minimalism   Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:28 pm

Yeah, there's a lot of stuff at work here.  Part of it is being overwhelmed by the magnitude of stuff.  We had each had our own apartments for years before we got married, so we ended up blending all of our household items together PLUS all the wedding gifts (our friends had the mindset that if it was a common household item not on the registry it meant we forgot to put it on there, not that we already had two of them.)  She did ask me to find some boxes to sort clothes into a couple of days ago, so maybe she's ready to deal with stuff now.

Part of it is that her family that she's close to was really poor when she was growing up so they had the idea that unless something is truly trash, there is always a potential use for it.  Like you know how when you buy a tube of Chapstick there's always that part of the product that is used to secure it to the base?  She keeps it with the intention of digging it out if she needs it.  Same with tubes of hand cream and toothpaste--she plans to cut open the end and scrape out what's stuck in there.  I covertly threw out a not-too-small box of nearly-empty containers of all this stuff a couple of weeks ago.

The toys are something I completely understand.  Her parents were divorced for a few years when she was in early elementary school and she lived with her grandparents during that time.  Her grandmother was a little too minimalist and thought if you hadn't used something in a couple days you probably weren't going to use it anymore and got rid of it.  As a result, most of her early childhood toys were given away and that has always bothered her.  She doesn't want our kids to feel that way.  Her solution is to pack up the old stuff and stick it in the attic in case they want it when they are older.  In contrast, when my wife was pregnant with our first kid, my mother gave us my first pair so swimming trunks and a red velvet suit that I had pictures taken in when I was about a year old.

We have cut back on purchases and have been really good about it for Christmas this year.  We got the kids one big present each and a couple of joint gifts.  Their lists for their grandparents were a total of 6 things each.  My mom just got them what was on the list.  My wife's mom though is always concerned that one kid will be upset because the other one got 1)more packages or 2) more expensive gifts, so she informed us that since one kid's list was about half as expensive as the other's, she went out and got the first kid more stuff to equal out the money and then she had to get the second kid more stuff to balance out the number of presents.

To paraphrase that great philosopher, Norm Peterson:  Parents, can't live with them...pass the beer nuts.
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Minimalism   Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:02 am

We have a tradition at our house for the week after Christmas. We go through all our son's toys and they go into three piles/locations:

1. Stuff he got for Christmas and other stuff we will keep (this stays in his room in his toy organizer).
2. Stuff not broken that he doesn't play with any more and can be given to someone else (these go in a box to go to church/Goodwill).
3. Broken stuff (trash bags...).

I talked with my wife last night about simplifying. She's on board, it will just take time. We are looking at using next year to slowly go through the whole house a room at a time and getting there.
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