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LM: #260: Optimal minimalism

April 22 2024 – 10:00am

Eight years ago, I reduced my possessions to a few suitcases, and moved to another continent.

I now live in a house I own, surrounded by stuff I’ve since bought.

So I have a vivid memory of anticipating, purchasing, and finally receiving every item surrounding me.

This memory alone is a forcing function that helps me talk myself out of many new items. It also helps that most orders take at least two weeks to arrive. It’s a whole to-do to get most things.

Yet somehow I still have stuff I don’t want or need.

In America, there are Goodwill and the Salvation Army to process the glut of junk. You can drop off your excess canvas bags of impulse buys and bad decisions, and guilt. You can even write it off as a donation to charity!

Here in Colombia, it’s not as easy. It’s not hard to find people who have a use for your old clothes, for example, but find them you must. And your extra English-language books? That’s a tougher task.

Some of these items I really love: my recliner and over-bed table where I’m writing this, my standing desk, and my air fryer and Instant Pot.

But even though I love these items, I often wonder at what hidden cognitive costs they come. To what extent am I thinking about them or repairing them? At what point will they wear out or break and cause frustration as I try to replace them but find out they’re discontinued? Should I practice more time gratitude and do without?

I don’t know where the sweet spot for minimalism lies, but no doubt it’s on the side of having less than you want.

Aphorism: “Clear writing gives poor thinking nowhere to hide.” —Shane Parrish

Book: 5-Minute Daily Writing Prompts (Amazon) is 501 prompts to exercise your writing muscles in a variety of ways.

P.S. One thing I recently bought that feels worth it is an e-ink Android e-reader. I wrote about why I love my BOOX Poke5.

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