The Want vs. The Purpose


There comes a time when you realize you have the money you never had to buy the thing you’ve always wanted.  That’s certainly how it went for me.  I didn’t grow up being able to buy the things I wanted.  We didn’t have the money for the ‘want’ items.  Even when I had a job the income wasn’t great enough for me to buy random things that I wanted.  Later on when I did have a better income I began to buy things that were on my want list. 

I bought PA system to play music through.  I bought a new guitar.  I bought tools.  I bought a new computer.  I traded up for a new car.  I bought collectable items, wall art, movies, sports equipment.  It seems like the list never ended.  I was never was able to buy the miscellaneous items when I was in college, but now that I have a great career I don’t hesitate to buy pretty much anything I want.  Until recently.

Many of the items that I wanted just because I wanted them are purposeless.  They serve no purpose.  I don’t need them.  I don’t use them.  They take up space and they were actually a waste of money.  I always thought that by buying things I wanted that I would gain some sort of happiness out of them.  In reality it wasn’t the case at all.  I think it was more of a “I can buy this because I never could before” mentality.  It’s a toxic way of thinking.  It cost me money, space, time, and now it’s almost a burden to have things I don’t need sitting around.  Like I’ve mentioned before it’s as if every item sitting around is a stack of money that isn’t being used on anything with value or with purpose.  Every item that I plan on keeping will serve a purpose to my daily ‘operations’ around the house and work.  I say operations in the sense of ‘how and why’ I use things around the house.  

If you’re wanting to become a minimalist think about purpose, the real value(not monetary) that each item provides to you.  Can you live without it?  Do you really need it?  How often will you actually use it?  Will it actually make you happy or does the idea of having it overshadow the reality of not needing it?  

I wish I would have thought about this before buying all the items I have that have served no purpose.  As I continue my path to minimalism, every item will have a purpose to my daily interactions and operation.  Still a ways to go, but the journey continues…

Why Minimalism?


Many people have asked me why I’m becoming a minimalist.  My main answer to that is that I’m not becoming one, I’m going back to being one.  I used to live minimal when I was college.  I just didn’t know it was called minimalism.  I didn’t buy anything I didn’t need or anything that didn’t provide a purpose and I could carry everything I owned in both my hands.  I enjoyed having less.  It made mobility much simpler and I feel life wasn’t cluttered by things.

After understanding a bit more about minimalism I’ve concluded that the things I have in my life don’t provide the value that I thought.  All the DVDs, the clothes, etc…the possessions don’t give me happiness as I’ve been led to believe.  

The people in my life give me happiness.  The moments we spend together give me happiness.  I value their time and their company.  For the items that I am keeping have a value in them.  I love books because I love knowledge.  I reference them and I like being able to hold them in my hands versus digital copy.  I can find purpose in every item I have and not just because the items can be used in a basic way, but they provide a value to my passions.  Everything I own leads back to my passions. 

Minimalism isn’t about getting rid of everything I own.  It’s about getting rid of things that I believe don’t provide value to my way of living or my passions.  Just because you use something doesn’t mean it’s valuable.  It just means you use it.  Some things help your daily life, but not everything needs to be kept.  There are things like a lawn mower, fire extinguisher, cleaning supplies that you will need to keep because well, they’re pretty important items when you have a house or apartment(except maybe not the mower).  Many people become minimalists for different reasons.  Here is why I want to go back to being one. 

Things should serve a need for what’s most important to you.  I feel a lot of the things I have bought serve no purpose in my daily routine.  I want every item that I own to serve a need and purpose to the things I do.  My guitar serves a purpose.  I love songwriting so that is something I will keep because it’s one of my passions.  I have journals that are unused.  I use them as needed and the serve my need to write things down.  I like writing versus taking digital notes so it adds value to my life.  The funkopops (bobble heads) that I have serve no purpose other than a collectable item so I will get rid of them.  These are just a few examples.  Minimalism wakes you up the things that are most important. 

Mobility is so much better when you own less.  This is our 2nd move in under 3 years and it’s a pain unpacking boxes of things that really have no need to be unpacked.  After 4 years in our first house we still had boxes unpacked.  How crazy is that?  Four years and we didn’t need anything in the boxes so why did we have them in the first place?  Like I’ve mentioned before we have a room full of boxes that we haven’t needed after nine months of being in our new house.  For our next move we should be able to move ourselves rather than have movers move us.  We will move again within the next 2 years.  The less we have the easier the move.  We’re only in temporary houses until I get closer to retirement.  What’s the point of accumulating so many ‘things’ when we’re not even really ‘home,’ yet?

Imagine if you only bought things that served a permanent need rather than a temporary use?  How much money do you think you’d save?  If I were to add up all of the things I didn’t need or use in our house I’m sure the price value would be higher than I’d like.  Which means all of that money is sitting around for no reason.  That sort of blows my mind.  Why would I put money into something and not really use it?  If I continue to live on the philosophy of only buying needful items I will save money.  It’s a certainty.  It would be nice to save up and actually be able to buy a house later or take an awesome vacation.  Think of it as an investment.  Saving money is always an investment. This allows me to do so with strategic spending in mind. 

Don’t you just love having space in your house?  Getting rid of the excess items will help increase space.  The less you have the easier it is to clean and also keep it clean.  Think about the items you have in your living room.  How often do you use them?  Do you just use them a few times a month?  Daily?  Think about how you could go without them and see if it changes the value of you having them.  We had to specifically make a DVD rack just to hold DVDs.  Or we could have just got rid of them and saved the corner space in our living room.  I would make the room look bigger and probably a bit neater too.  I keep a lot of old track medals and awards and although they are an important time in my life they don’t really do anything for me now.  They sit in a box collecting dust.  Some people may like having side tables, coffee tables, more chairs than people and that’s fine.  If they provide value to you daily life then keep them.  If not, ask yourself if your happiness would change if you got rid of them.  

I hope this gave you an idea on why I’m choosing to go back to being a minimalist.  You may see it differently than I do and I hope you see the value in it.  I hope you are able to increase the value in the things that matter most to you.