“Why I Live With 57 Things (And What They Are)” ☞

This kind of lifestyle-guru bullshit really gets my goat. The subhed on the linked article: “The Less You Have, the More Epic Your Life”? Just seeing that makes me want to vomit. This seemingly recent cult of ‘minimalist living’ is precisely the reason I stopped following Minimal Mac on Tumblr and binned them in Google Reader; there’s only so much self–righteous, preachy “Not What We Believe In” chanting I can stomach, and Minimal Mac has become increasingly focussed on that kind of empty, mantra-esque crap in the recent months.

Jim Whimpey, as usual, nails it:

Pretend for a minute that he really only has 57 things in the way it’s being sold. As I’ve written before, simplicity not minimalism should be the goal. There is no inherent good in minimalism.

I want to punch the air in agreement. And I want to scream the last sentence in the face of all these bullshitting, new-age, “holier-than-thou” pricks that constantly bleat about how awesome their lives are because they’re quote–unquote ‘minimalists’. Every single one of them reminds me of that stuck-up old woman in church who constantly lectures other people on their sinfulness and lack of faith precisely because she’s suffering from a crisis in faith herself (come on, you know someone exactly like that). Or, perhaps even more aptly, the old adage “self-praise is no honour”.

I’m not arguing for thoughtless, pointless consumption and accumulation of stuff. I spend a lot of time arguing against it, and I try wherever I can to live in something approaching an environmentally responsible way. But I’m not doing that because I’m a minimalist — I’m doing it because I crave simplicity in my life, and I want to do it without dumping ever more crap into the waste stream.

I don’t think my life is any less ‘awesome’ because I have two scalpels, or a set of sewing needles, or a bunch of half-used notebooks. These things don’t define me any more than not having them would. To say that not having these things would make your life better is just a cop-out response to consumer culture: it’s the Alcoholics Anonymous method of dealing with your problems. Avoiding something totally is infinitely easier than showing some restraint and trying to live with balance.