Minimalism ain't just a river in Egypt

February 15, 2011

I own a lot of stuff. A rough estimate puts me at 600 CDs. There was a time I would buy 1-3 CDs every week but the last CDs I bought were back in December 2009 and I don’t think I’ve ever put those CDs in a CD player. I bought them, put them on a shelf and continued to listen to them on Rhapsody. Clearly I wasn’t buying them for the music. It was about ownership, putting it on a shelf for people to see. My CD collection was who I was.

I’ve had a realization. I don’t care anymore.

I held off buying any sort of DRM protected eBooks. I wanted to be able to read, archive and share my books without worrying that one day my books would stop working. Lately I’ve been buying kindle books to read on my iPad. Today I canceled my pre-order for the hardcover of Seth Godin’s upcoming book Poke the Box. I decided I’d rather not bring more physical stuff into my life and ordered the kindle version instead.

I’ve been following Ev Bogue as he wrote and published his new eBook Augmented Humanity which I’ve been reading and so far as been amazing. Ev practices minimalism and has written a couple eBooks on the subject. I admit I envy his freedom. In a recent post he talks about his packing list as he travels around the world. I have too much stuff to be able to live his lifestyle.

I don’t know if I would ever be able to get down to less then 100 possessions and I’m not sure I’d want to. What this has done is allow me to analyze my relationship with the things that surround me. Why do I have this book? Unless I’m currently reading it, or have it on a schedule to read, why do I have it? Maybe I should just get rid of it.

Take a look in your own life and ask yourself about the relationship you have with your possessions. Are they adding value to your life or are they draining it from you? Would you be able to easily move right now if you wanted or would your possessions keep you from your destiny?


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Written by Andrew Shell, a web developer from Madison, WI.