Monday, December 3, 2007

On Minimalism

I've always said that I'm a minimalist in theory only, because, you know, I really like stuff. And I don't mean that in the oh-my-gawd-I-have-to-have-everything-I-see kind of way (though my wife would surely argue that I have my moments). Thing is, I'm a very tactile person. I like having things to feel & hold, which means the problem I have with minimalism in practice is that it doesn't allow much room for useless crap that feels nice under my fingers, and that's not cool.

However, I always find myself coming back to the idea. If only I could get rid of all this stuff, I think. I get over it, rationalizing my need for boxes that have yet to be filled, magazines I'll never read again (seriously, I'm going to scan in the covers, and they'll make an awesome, I don't know, something, and then I'll throw them in the garbage. There's always a reason, isn't there?

And still I come back to the minimalist thoughts. It would be awesome (perhaps only to me) to have many, many copies of the same outfit, to wear the same thing every day. One less thing to think about, less cluttr in the mind, yes? (To which I internally reply that I'd need a dress outfit in there somewhere, and there's the seasons to consider...)

It would be awesome to abandon my home computer for all file-storage needs. I'd love to keep all our pictures on Picasa Web Albums (though we've become camera-trigger-happy since the birth of our first child a year and a half ago, which means we'd probably have to either store the pictures on the computer, back them up to cds once we reached the online storage limit, or purchase more storage space). I already store all my writing online at Google Documents & Spreadsheets. Music is another thing. I love Anywhere.fm, though it currently supports only .mp3 files (if you think I'm taking the time to convert all those blasted .mp4s, you've got another thing coming, and I'm not holding my breath for the promised support for other file types). And that'd be about it. I use computers almost exclusively for the internet (which I can get anywhere), word processing, music, and photos.

It would be awesome. But I'm not holding my breath.

What about the rest of my house, you ask? Good question, and not coincidentally, where my minimalist tendencies usually hit the skids. I love books. Love 'em. I don't know if minimalism allows room for a horde of books I probably won't read again or haven't yet made time to read. Then there's the music books to consider.

I have to stop and wonder what minimalism even means today. Or at least what it would mean to me. As I've said, I think connections are a big deal. What the aspiring minimalist will encounter, however, is the realization that modern connectivity requires more & more stuff through which and by which we make the connections that mean the most. What does that say about me? About us? Does all the stuff help or hinder the connections we make? Is it time to think about choosing between the connections and the stuff?

And the new year approacheth, with a frightening pace, full steam.

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