Having just watched a Netflix feature called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things which, in truth, had caught my eye initially as I was looking for material on the art movement and to be honest, I felt somewhat distracted. Distracted because now, when I looked around my desk and wider working space, I simply thought "WTF!" I had realised that I had to act against the hoarding mentality I had adopted.
I had to face facts; I had collected way too much stuff that I didn’t need and my next action brought a moment of unexpected catharsis and it was simply achieved by picking up a bag and deciding that “I don’t need that, or that”. This quickly developed, with the help of a bit of re-classification, in to three satisfying bags: RECYCLING – RUBBISH – CHARITY.
Although pens, pencils, books and notepads are great to start with it’s not until it gets really personal does it get interesting. The wardrobe was next, and the questions started again; “when did I last wear that?”
By the end of the process I had removed three desks, half a wardrobe worth of clothes and shoes, several shelves worth of books and magazines, unused sporting equipment, unused decorative furniture such as mirrors and pictures, rugs that I had been using in the garage (just because) and the really hard one; nuts bolts, screws and washers (not all of them though, some are just too useful) from the man drawer.
By the time I was finished I could see walls and floors that I hadn’t seen in years but it didn’t come without questions and reflection upon the views and comments of the documentaries participants.
How could someone have so few sets of pants and socks and not increase their carbon footprint? Would they not increase their washing cycles and at the same time underutilise their drum capacity?
There appeared to be a certain type of person featured in this documentary. Simply, people who don’t really need much. Basically, I earn my money through creative technology and having multiple 37” monitors, workstation sized PC’s, laptops, phones, tablets, musical instruments and recording equipment, cameras and studio workspace is key to my income so you are not going to find me sitting on a single chair in an empty room dabbing a finger at a MacBook (always seems to be a MacBook) any time soon.
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus aren’t just selling a lifestyle, are they? No, they’re selling their book, a book that just happens to have been picked up as a Netflix special. Hmmm…
I’m sure some of my points here may be a bit tongue in cheek and some of the questions like “when did I last wear that?” are questions we probably ask ourselves regularly but one of the things I really took from this is that I don’t want to collect and obtain because I desire anymore, there has to be a need, a necessity.