Minimalism: is anything off limits?

  
 When you follow minimalist principles in your day-to-day life there are naturally aspects that are more of a challenge than others. 

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)?

 

F

 

 

15 thoughts on “Minimalism: is anything off limits?

  1. There are definitely quite a few areas of life that minimalism can’t touch. My dance gear, my book collection and above all else, my tea collection. These are things in my life that give me strength to go on and really enjoy the journey. There are times I even question purchases and wonder, hmm, is it really worth it? For books, the library usually takes care of any cravings, but sometimes there’s that one book that needs to be read over and over again and finds a home on a bookshelf or the kindle. But all in all, it’s still a tug of war between the wallet and the heart.

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    1. I totally get you – on cycling, minimalism and the whole theme. Yeah, cycling with the wrong kit sucks, and in some cases can lead to injury. So, you need what you need. But when you’re shopping for it, it’s hard to avoid getting sucked into the “wanting”, which can blow things out of proportion. I have this with cycling, but also with music – instruments are big, and I don’t have a lot of room, but I can’t justify purging a £2k musical instrument just because I’m not going to use it for a couple of years. In these situations, I think the rules change, or become more conceptual. To me, minimalism is about keeping the things you’re getting value out of and that are enhancing your life. It’s about not being sucked into buying a load of things you don’t use. If you use it, if it lets you do more rides and enjoy them more, great. Minimalism, to me, is tool which allows me to tell the difference between a good purchase and a bad one. Good purchases improve my life. Bad ones make it worse. That’s my two cents…

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      1. PS: Replying to myself – I forgot to mention the deciding question I ask myself when considering a purchase “Would I regret NOT buying this”? Umbrella – yes. Stopping for tea at the cafe – no. Duct tape – Yes. iPhone 6 – no etc..

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      2. That’s a good question to ask Kimwei – I think I’m going to add that to my list of things to consider when purchasing (not that I can buy anything for another 6 months but you know what I mean!). M

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  2. The least ‘minimalist’ area of my life is my knitting (and now spinning) equipment and yarn/fibre. I’ve tried to buy the minimum amount of equipment by choosing stuff that’s versatile…I do have quite a lot of yarn that is waiting to be made into something, but having gone through it and donated to charity stuff that I had bought/acquired a while ago and was no longer the sort of stuff I like to use, I’m happy that what I have will be used and enjoyed!
    I think as long as the stuff we have is for hobbies/activities we still do and enjoy, it’s all good…it’s hanging on to stuff we’re no longer interested in that’s an issue..

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  3. It seems to me that minimalism shouldn’t be a painful going without but a judgement as to what is useful and pleasurable, then letting go of the rest. Not a state I’ve reached but it seems like the holy grail…..

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  4. Good food and travel. I realize those are not things but they are epenses where I don’t like to be held back by my finances. I know my husband thinks I am dramatic if I say so, but I consider them essentials.

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  5. I’m a minimalist and a triathlete so completely understand where you are coming from with regard to equipment (especially cycling). I learned some time ago not to feel the ‘minimalist guilt’ over equipment that I get a lot of use and value out of. Yes I have two pairs of bike shoes, and 3 water bottles and even two helmets (one specially for Time Trial BTW). What minimalism has thought me though is not to follow the fads of the sport or jump on the latest tech immediately, but to be more patient and manage my wants/needs. I guess its down to less impulse buys (such as jerseys) and more planned purchases (such as saving for a set of new wheels).

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  6. Beekeeping! It is one of the most resource-intensive hobbies I think I have ever had. My justification is that bees are important so the stuff is allowable, but we’re early on in the process so it’s hard to work out what the essentials are and what are fancy extra bits that we could do without.

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    1. Now there’s something I didn’t expect someone to say but certainly something you need the essentials for! Sounds like you’ve made time in your life for something you are passionate as well which is the main goal, it would be good to hear how you and the bees get on in the future! F

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      1. We just got them in September and they’re pretty quiet over the winter, but I shall definitely start including their antics in my blog as Spring starts up. I had all these hippy ideas in my head when we started, but the technical realities are rather more complicated!

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  7. My partner’s stuff. I’ve learned to keep hands off, even though his junk everywhere annoys me. But I’ve had to learn that I don’t have the right to get rid of anything that doesn’t belong to me.

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