01/23/2017 12:17 EST | Updated 01/05/2018 14:52 EST

Minimalism Has Made Me Mindful Of My Hoarder's Mentality

As I grow older, I become more of a minimalist. I don't know why. My mother raised me to be a collector. She encouraged each of us, my brothers and me, to collect figurines. Mine were owls and elephants.

As much as we went to the library, we also bought books. And records. And tapes. I guess that shows my age, but also it showed what my family home would eventually turn into.

Such clutter.

I also collected stamps and maps and political buttons and other pins.

The belongings people accumulate throughout their lives will always own them. - Sarah Noffke

I am no longer a collector, but I am a bit of a hoarder. I still have a few maps and a few of the more special pins. The rest are all gone.

There is a difference between collector and hoarder.

A collector keeps acquiring things. I definitely don't. I come as close to an ascetic as a modern man can. I wear clothes longer than most. I would rather reread the same books I love than buy new ones.

In fact, my best shopping tip is this: Don't!

Shopping is a rip-off. You hand somebody money that you need for food, rent, transportation, health are and other important things. You walk away with something that you really don't need.

Like I said, I've become quite the minimalist.

Tiny house?

That being said, I would not like to move into a tiny house like this or this. I might be a minimalist, but I am also a pacer. I need room to move. I like a big house, I just like it to be somewhat empty.

And that's the second part of why shopping is a rip-off. Not only do you give away useful money for mostly useless stuff, you then have to store all that stuff. That just makes your house smaller, no matter how large it is.

Lose money.

Lose space.

Get junk.

Stuff accumulates around your house, stealing space. But stuff never accumulates where it counts -- in your memories. Nobody ever remembers the amazing furniture and rugs and gadgets and cookware and shoes and trinkets they had 20 or 30 years ago.

But we all remember that amazing family outing.

We all remember that show at the NAC or at the Club Soda. If you're old enough, you might even remember a show at Le Pretzel Enchainé (Streetheart!)

And we all remember every trip we took.

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely. - Auguste Rodin

Travel is an experience

Travel is a great time means of recognizing the value of being a minimalist. If you can pack really light, travel becomes much easier:

  • Less luggage to chase down and drag around.
  • Less cost to buy all that stuff you would drag around.
  • More money to actually enjoy the trip.
  • In fact, being a minimalist means that you can afford trips that otherwise would be wasted on home decor or extra clothes or gadgets or cookware.

Travel is an experience, and the memories you collect are more valuable than stuff you collect... and they take up less space.

So how am I doing as a minimalist?


I might not collect things, but I share the house with four women who do. And we have a big house that collects clutter easily. Worse, I grew up with that hoarder instinct. So, as they bring way to much stuff into the house, I can't seem to find it in me to get rid of it all. Plus, I might be defenestrated if I did.

Frankly, the only upside to that would be the chance to use the word "defenestrate."

Not everybody is a minimalist, and I am not saying that everybody should be. As you see, I am not even all that good a minimalist.

But it is worth thinking about how you want to spend your time and money between collecting stuff and collecting experiences. You have only so much time to spend and you'll have only so much money. Enjoying life is all about how you allocate the time and the money.

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