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My Changing Views on Minimalism

If you have been a reader of ours over the last 4 years you have probably noticed I tend to take a middle of the road approach. That extends to minimalism and also the tiny house movement.   While I would still argue my position is fairly moderate, in certain situations my opinion has shifted significantly.

Big Difference Between Minimalism and Hoarding

Honestly, I have always felt you shouldn’t hoard.   Keeping too much stuff you don’t use has some signIficant downsides.  Too many items means fire hazards.  It means impaired ability to clean which can affect your help.  And in extreme cases you could end up wasting your money on renting extra space for your crap.    

Regular Purging

To this end I’ve always periodically donated or trashed items as appropriate.   At least once a quarter we drive a load to good will for example.  We also regularly put out in the trash broken or used up items.  The reality is, it makes no sense to save something for decades in case I might need it.  This is especially true with the glut of used items available through online classifieds at reasonable prices and conditions.  

Almost Every Physical Good is Easily Replaceable

A small digression, as part of the movement of our family member to assisted living we needed a love seat or recliner.  Unfortunately the ones in his existing home were not usable. So we placed an ad based on the need for a free recliner.   Within twenty minutes there were 3 responses, and the individual now has a nearly new looking recliner.  

While I wouldn’t request something for myself for free given our financial position, it highlights that items can be replaced fairly cheap when needed.  So if you are not using something at least yearly it’s probably time to get rid of it.   That position also encapsulates my views in my writing over the last few years…

Cleaning A House that is Not from Someone Practicing Minimalism

But our little assisted living exercise has been a bit more traumatic then the need for a recliner.   Simply put the act of cleaning out a house with a life time of accumulated stuff is exceedingly complex.  The piles of stuff go well beyond unused furtniture.  And everything has to be evaluated individually for value or information.

For example most people hold their tax records indefinitely.  But should they?   For the elderly this could mean they have tax records that are older then I am.  While I am all for keeping tax records for a longer period of time, I somehow doubt anyone cares about tax documents from the early 70s.  And yet, while cleaning out a home these need to be shredded to avoid identity theft.  Magnify that by the last 50 years and it becomes a major task.

Plan to Downside in Later Years

Which get’s to my changing views. I still plan to periodically clean out my home as a matter of course.  But I’ve now modified my future plans somewhat.   For the sake of my family, when I get to be in my late 50s I plan on ensuring we are in a smaller home. 

That home will force me to purge my crap before I get to the time period where I am most likely to leave someone else to clean up my stuff. I like my space, but I just don’t want to do that to my heirs.   

An Increase to Our Purging

In addition when I get to that age group I plan to increase our purge time frame to monthly.   Anything to reduce the burden on those who will one day have to clean out my house.  

This shift also means I am formalizing our current disposal process.  You never know if you will go early, plus I would like to save myself that future work as well.  It’s a lot easier to clean things up as you go rather then all at once.

Minimalism But Still Not Tiny House

Anyway, for now I am spending most of my free time cleaning out my relatives house.  After that completes who knows, I might become a tiny house acolyte before I even make my twilight years.  We shall see.

Where do you stand on minimalism?

3 Comments

  1. Gavin R
    Gavin R August 3, 2020

    There’s nothing like cleaning out your parents or a relatives house to make you realize most people don’t want your “stuff”. We hired a company and sold the contents of a house through an auction, they would only auction the contents if they could auction the house also. Most of the contents ended up in the trash. I try to maintain a minimalist amount of “stuff” but it slowly starts piling back up.

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance August 16, 2020

      I like that approach in some cases. Let someone else manage the problem professionally. Unfortunately in our case the house was not in a condition that would be deemed safe to have auctioneers or the public.

  2. Margarita Baker
    Margarita Baker August 13, 2020

    Great article. Just yesterday, I was thinking just like you: “when I get to be in my late 50s I plan on ensuring we are in a smaller home.” Good luck!

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