19:00 | May 24, 2020

More Brings Joy

Why you can be a materialist and a minimalist at the same time

Hi beautiful soul, I got a beautiful new inspiration today. Hope you enjoy it!

Why you can be a materialist and a minimalist at the same time and how to do it!

Do you need that? my girlfriend asked. Is it worth so much money, besides you already have headphones? To which I replied, “I don’t necessarily need them but the ones I now own are kinda annoying. They fall out of my ears, the cord keeps getting stuck behind my neck, and besides I just love the look of these.” “Okay then, get them.” So I did and bought a fresh pair of in-ear headphones. That, of course, didn’t mean I would just throw away the old ones. They had served me for well over two years but were still fine to use. So I gave them to my mom, she needed new sports earphones to take with her while running. So all was right, no waste at all. I am quite happy with the new ones. They fit inside my pocket and have extremely good audio quality. So, I thought to myself, “I will not buy anything new for the upcoming month.” Two days later a new box arrived in the post with some new books for me to read. “Fuck I did it again, I bought something new.” I once again forced myself to not buy anything new for the next two weeks until the month ended. Then it was my birthday. I didn’t know anything to ask for, but for some reason I ended up with a lot of gifts. All of which I adore right now. Again my challenge had failed. I just got new things. How hard could it be? 

Every other month I have this desire to just own less. Yup this is the complete opposite of buying more. I go through my closet and decide to donate four shirts, three hoodies a pair of pants, and some t-shirts. I didn’t like them anymore. So the cupboard looked a lot cleaner, with less stuff in there. For some reason I have this desire to color match all my clothes. White shirts are pilled up nicely next to the black ones. Colored ones go on another shell, hoodies and vests are hung up, with black on the left and colors on the right. So I take a step back, the cupboard looks clean again. Then I move on to the rest of my room. TV cabinet, desk, old boxes from things I bought, little cabinet next to my desk, bookshelves, and then I move on to just clean up the whole room and move everything in its original spot or a new spot. Then after a full day of getting rid of things I feel calm again. Like my mind is peaceful. No books flying around, nor papers, or cables. No unfolded blankets or unorganized cabinets. Everything is tidy. 

The next day I open my laptop at my perfectly cleaned desk and open zoom. Type in the conference call number and attend the lecture. The teacher asks us to write down notes and print a template we have to fill in. So I grab my notebook and print the template. I fill in the template and make some notes during class. Then the class ends. I put the notebook back on its shelve and place the piece of paper on the corner of my desk. “Wait a minute, I just cleaned the desk.” That piece of paper ruins it. Okay leave it, I’ll just put it in the cabinet so I don’t see it. So after a few weeks, the cabinets are a mess again, there are papers all over the place, unfolded blankets and cables lying around. It’s all back to a mess. Next to that, I decided to buy three more, new things. “Damn it, why do I keep on buying new stuff and can’t keep the room clean.” 

I open youtube and start watching one after the other minimalist video on how to tidy up my room and be more minimal. Yet I never start. I notice myself having fewer clothes and things I at first found necessary end up in the bin. Perfect. So minimalism is working, but why do I keep on buying new things? How can someone that wants to be a minimalist still give so much value to material things?

Photo by Luca Laurence on Unsplash

The newest stuff as a minimalist 

I once opened up Instagram and read a post about the zodiac sign Taurus, which is my birth zodiac. Along the lines it said “a Taurus is highly materialistic and gets great pleasure from owning things”. This line kept repeating in my head while I thought about being minimalist. I have always loved getting new things and take great joy from researching and finding out what is the best option to get. Next to that I try to be more mindful about which company to buy things from. I want them to be high quality and sustainably made. That way I don’t buy new things as often and I won’t hurt the planet as much. I just don’t want to give so much value to things, I want to be more minimalistic because well I never got long-lasting fulfillment out of buying new stuff. Then I watched the documentary minimalism. A great documentary to watch by the way if you want to have a more healthy relationship with things, help the planet, and be a more happy person in general. Anyways, while I was watching the documentary and following some minimalists on the internet I noticed that almost all of them had the newest iPhone. “So they must have some sort of drive to have something new as well, don’t they?” I thought to myself. Then it clicked. 

That was it. They where minimalist but I was looking at it from the completely wrong angle. Minimalism wasn’t about having less for the sake of having less. That is the same as wanting more for the sake of wanting more. It was about having less for the sake of being happier. Having the newest iPhone gave many of these minimalists great joy, they spend much time on their phones, and every time they held it they felt joy within them. Then I looked at my phone and thought to myself, do I still enjoy holding this phone? I did, even though it is an older model I was still enjoying using it and holding it. It felt good in the hand, the interface was clean and easy to use. So I realized that I was asking myself the wrong question the whole time. 

Man searching for meaning
Photo by mari lezhava on Unsplash

The right question to ask yourself as a materialistic minimalist

If you think of minimalism you think of white walls with black cabinets and just a single painting on the wall. That’s it. Desks are perfectly tidy with phones, keyboards, mouses, headphones, and cables perfectly straight and symmetrically next to each other. Unconsciously the question you ask yourself is, what can I get rid of right now? The answer to that question will always be, everything. You actually can get rid of everything. If I decide to get rid of my phone and laptop right now, I can. The trash can is right outside, it would only take a few seconds to throw them away and be done with it. I could easily delete every app on my phone except the apps that are built into the device and simply have a ‘minimalist’ phone setup. There are even hundreds of videos on youtube about minimalist ‘getting rid of everything’. They live in their apartment with nothing but a bed. Yes you can of course, but that goes completely beyond the point of minimalism. That’s why I think there is a better way to look at it. 

Minimalism can be seen as having less for the sake of having less. But it can also be seen as a healthy relationship with things where you are the owner of things not owned by things. Therefore I started asking myself a completely different question. “Do I take joy from having this?” This question is the actual question most minimalists ask themselves, but I and maybe others get completely wrong. It isn’t about having as little as possible, but having just enough to be happy with everything you own. That’s why I now see myself as a materialistic minimalist. In no shape or form am I a minimalist. I am still working to that point where I only own things that bring me joy. I do see myself shape ‘being a minimalist’ to my way of living. 

I take great joy in doing research and finding the best option possible. I get great joy out of buying things that make me more productive, make me look great, or just simply give me joy. That is the materialistic part of me. I enjoying buying stuff once in a while. The thing is I decide what I want to buy. I don’t simply see an ad of a new sexy man presenting this new fragrance by Paco Rabanne and spraying it on himself. To which a hot chick comes from the side and starts kissing him. After which I think to myself “I want to buy that fragrance.” No not at all. Not even with phones or computers, which I love watching review videos about. I just think to myself “am I happy with the things I own right now?” If the answer is yes then I don’t buy it. If the answer is no, I still don’t buy it because it would be an impulse to buy something straight after watching a video about it. As a materialistic minimalist you make a conscious decision to spend more money on things. You don’t buy cheap earphones because that saves you money. You think to yourself, do I want new earphones, even if they would cost me four times as much as the cheap ones? If that answer is yes then buy the expensive ones. It is about buying what brings you joy and at the same time is build out of good quality materials. 

Being a materialist doesn’t mean you need many things to be happy. You rather need good quality things which you deliberately choose to buy. That does mean you spend more money on things, but instead of buying a pair of headphones that might last you a year, you buy a pair that lasts you two. That’s the difference. Buying things you love and that you will love for longer than half a year. So then you can be a minimalist and a materialist. Both having less and get great joy out of buying new things. 

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About me

Today I lived is a three word quote that reminds me and you to live. To enjoy this life and look for the sunshine in your day! Cause “beauty is everywhere”