Minimalism is not about the number of items you own or even what the items you own are. You are not more or less of a minimalist for owning a car, a house, or having seven children. To me, minimalism is about curating objects that are both functional and beautiful and that add value to the life of its owner. That said, a list of items a self-confessed 'minimalist' owns is a valuable thing in its own right, especially if you're looking to upgrade items and are after recommendations.
So here's a list of everything I own.
For the sake of clarity, I've counted things as a single item if the object depends on another or if the object is functionally a single unit. For example, I wouldn’t own a MacBook without a MacBook charger, therefore the charger and its counterpart count as a single item. Similarly, a phone with a case functions like a single unit, so is counted as such. If I had a second case, that is counted as a second item because I can't use both simultaneously. This list also includes consumable items that will be with me for longer than one month, like toiletries and perfumes.
I've linked to the category of the item rather than the item itself where the item itself is no longer for sale. This list was published on November 2nd 2019 and is updated as and when I introduce into, and remove things from, my life.
I make that to be approximately 174 items, 99.94%less than the average American home. Not that the number's important, of course.
When picking up a new item, I always consider a few key things:
Do the values of the company I am buying from match my own values and if they don't, is there a company that produces a similar (or better) product with values do?
Does the item provide value, not always monetarily – I don't mind investing substantially more for a brand that I like – but functionally too? Does it enhance and accompany my life or attempt to control it? After getting a thing, we usually spend time and money cleaning the thing, fixing the thing, putting oil in the thing, insuring the thing, servicing the thing... Is this ongoing cost worth the hassle?
Is the item beautiful? You might claim that an oil burner's simply an oil burner but I'd disagree. Why invest in something ugly when it can be interesting?
On 1st December, I added a jumper from All Saints and a 1TB Samsung T5 SSD hard drive
On 26th December, I added gifts I received for Christmas and removed items that I donated to local charity shops. I also added a section for charity t-shirts.
On 29th December, I added three books and some additional toiletries.
On 5th January, I re-inventoried all of my possessions and started playing the Minimalism Game – disposing or donating of one item on the first day, two on the second, three on the third, and so on – as if I had begun on January 1st, and adopted a one-in/two-out process, where new items come into my life at the cost of two others being donated or disposed of.
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