I’m sure we all have an area that we struggle to apply minimalist principles to.
For me it’s cycling. It’s something I’ve mentioned before but has come back into focus after a weekend away cycling. Over the course of three days a group of friends and I covered nearly 250 miles. We experienced the full four seasons with rain, hail, wind and sunshine. Although I was happy with the kit I had bought and used some things I didn’t think I would, I did wish at some points that I had brought more. The trip, in honesty, also made me covet a few extra items of kit that others had.
Like you, I don’t want to have excessive amounts of possession and I don’t want to own things I don’t need but cycling is my Achilles heel.
I cleared a shed full of components and a rack of jerseys that I didn’t need a year ago and don’t intend to fill it back up but cycling paraphernalia still amounts to a lot of stuff.
When you have a hobby like cycling you have to accept that you’ll need a large amount of items.
For example, I have two different pairs of shoes depending on if I’m commuting or going on a longer ride, both meet different needs that one alone wouldn’t. It’s safe to say that most of my possessions and clothing are cycling related!
I feel the guilt at times for desiring more cycling gear or bling, after all it just feels like an excuse to spend like I used to and that I’ve lost sight of my long term goals. Generally, purchases made are on a practical level so easier to justify, but a weekend of being with others in their finest cycling kit made me look at my own and think how mine needed to be more stylish. I wanted to go out and splurge on cool kit that wasn’t necessary. Weird to say as I know men in Lycra is not the usual trigger for a shopping spree!
This is certainly a desire over a need and one that is very hard to resist at the moment. I have to remember to make the distinction between the two and come to a balanced judgment on whether a purchase is necessary and to ensure I’m not buy for a ‘just in case’ moment.
So is minimalism off limits to this part of my life? Well, yes and no to be honest. I apply the principles of it but not as vigorously as I do to the rest of my life.
I have reduced the items I have to the minimum whilst still being able to get out on my bike all year round – which means ensuring different clothing for different weathers etc.
When I do have to make a purchase it has to pass the value and quality test and if it replaces another item then I look to donate or sell the old one. It’s counter-productive to reduce the items I have for cycling completely as it would mean I wouldn’t be able to go out on my bike, which is something I love doing – and minimalism is all about making room for the things you love, right?
It’s easy to get too serious and try and restrict everything in your life but then you are missing the point of minimalism – it’s about removing the things that restrict you leading the life that you want as opposed to the things that help you lead that new life.
Is there anything in your life that is off limit to minimalism? Do you think that it should apply across the board or do you follow it so that it gives you more space for your passions (even if they are ones that require lots of stuff)?