Use People, Love Things

minimalist-coffee-tableWhat is minimalism?

Minimalism is focusing on things, knowing which things bring you most pleasure and have the greatest return for their price. It is getting rid of all the extra junk that crowds your life, so you can get the most out of the things you enjoy.

This is an extremely practical philosophy.

Why own books or DVDs that you don’t really enjoy or watch often? Get rid of them. You can use the new space to find other ones that you actually like reading or watching. Or you can just leave the space empty, and appreciate the slimmer look of your bookshelves.

Why keep clothes in your closet that you don’t like wearing, or that you feel guilty about owning? Donate them. Choose clothing you enjoy wearing, or just enjoy the sensation of being able to stand inside your closet without brushing against that ugly jacket that Aunt Enid gave you six years ago.

These are highly practical suggestions, with immediate return, but one can go farther. You might as well start acting out minimalist ideals in other, more important, areas of your life too.

Why say get involved in activities or go to events that you don’t really enjoy? Extract yourself (as tactfully as possible, of course), and use that free time to go shopping for a new coffee table that was hand-carved by poor Brazilian woodcutters. It’ll look great in your living room, and you can finally get rid of that worn-out one that you got at a garage sale last summer.

Let’s take it a step farther and ask: why spend time with people that you don’t really like? Cut yourself out of their life (or them out of your life, however you wish to look at it) and you’ll suddenly have tons of extra energy and time to spend on dusting your stylish black-and-white (mostly empty [since you got rid of most of your books and DVDs]) bookshelves.

But I’ve saved the real knowledge drop for last.

You probably have a boring desk job that requires you to talk to boring people on a semi-regular basis, in between all the other boring tasks that you have to do. Get out. Quit your job and take up blogging about your gorgeously minimalist (and mostly empty) (and strangely quiet) house. That way you can dedicate all your energy to arranging your black wool carpets on your black South American hardwood floors so they make perfect right angles with your white Scandinavian sofas. The photos will look stunning on your new Instagram feed.

After all, people will let you down. They’ll say things that hurt, and they’ll make plans without you, and they’ll try and tell you about their boring lives. Things don’t do that. You always know exactly where they are, and exactly what they can do for you. Things are safe. People are just a way to get better things.

Use people, love things.

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