Minimalism in a world of consumerism

I’ve recently begun listening to The Minimalists podcast. It’s hosted by Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn. Minimalism, in general, is about finding the things that are important in your life and getting rid of the things that aren’t. Minimalism embraces the philosophy of less is more. Happiness isn’t derived by how many physical possessions you have in life. The opposite is often true. The constant pursuit of physical things can be a detriment to finding happiness.

Minimalism is different for everyone. What is minimalist for one person may not be minimalist for someone else.

The overall message of minimalism hit home for me. Sheri’s great-aunt passed away last month at the age of 92. The task of cleaning out her apartment and disposing of her possessions fell on us. I realized going through her physical possessions that I have an awful lot of stuff that will need to be gone though after I leave this world. I realized I’ve engaged in a lifestyle that will make that task more complicated and more cumbersome that it ought to be.

One person’s treasure is another person’s junk

The first thing I ever collected: 1991 Pacific NFL Football cards.

I’ve collected stuff over the years. Sports cards, comic books, Hot Wheels cars, action figures, and some other dumb stuff. At first, I derived pleasure from collecting things. At least I thought I did. As time went on, collecting whatever I was collecting, I would feel as though I was receiving less pleasure from whatever I was collecting. Instead of sitting down and trying to suss out why collecting X was no longer making me happy, I would just move on to collecting something else. I was constantly chasing that same feeling of excitement, the false rush, I got when I began collecting sports cards.

If I did find pleasure in collecting something new, it never seemed to last very long.

Because of this cycle of collecting things, I have a lot of stuff in boxes now taking up space. Some of the boxes are in closets. Some of the boxes are in the garage. Others are up in the attic.

Sometimes, when cycling from collecting one thing to another, I would sell whatever I had collected. I would then use any money I made on eBay on acquiring whatever dumb new thing I was collecting.

More times than not, I would hold on to whatever I was collecting in the past. What if I wanted to collect that thing again? It was something I almost always did eventually.

Collecting is Hoarding

As Joshua Fields Millburn points out on The Minimalists podcast, a synonym for the word “collecting” is “hoarding.” I strongly agree with that. From now on, the only thing I collect will be memories derived from life experiences. The only thing I will hoard will be knowledge. From this day on, the only thing I collect or hoard will leave this world when I do. The things I collect won’t sit in a box at the back of the attic waiting for someone to go through.

My preferred way to die: a catastrophic transporter mishap. Something that can only happen far, far in the future.

I hope I don’t die for a very long time. Whenever it happens, hopefully in a flying car accident or a transporter mishap, I don’t want anyone to have to decide what to do with my boxes of Hot Wheels toy cars or Wolverine comic books.


Also published on Medium.

Author: Rick Rottman

This is my personal blog. It's where I write about things when I feel like it.

1 thought on “Minimalism in a world of consumerism”

  1. Wonderful! Barb enjoyed it too! I too go from one thing to another. One hobby to another, usually spending more money than I should and having regrets later on.

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