Minimalism: getting rid of stuff vs upcycling (and not buying new stuff in the first place)

August 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

You are not a minimalist if you are generating so much waste you need to throw away to be left with little stuff. Being a minimalist is about having as little material possessions as possible to live a happy life as much as buying as little stuff you wouldn’t have to dispose of to have less. Being an environmentalist person you know that upcycling beats recycling at energy costs and is of greater value as thinking, craftsmanship and sweat are also involved. Also you should know by now that “there is no away” to throw or dispose of your waste.

I’ve read some time ago that not the minimalism as a lack of possessions state should be pursued but the minimalism in the sense of having the minimum amount of stuff that works for you and helps you achieve your maximum personal growth and spiritual evolution to the degree you want it.

Trying to balance is the tricky part here. Lacking stuff makes you worry and you begin thinking of it more than if you had it. That’s not good for one’s quest for wisdom. Then again having too much stuff gets you in the other category of people tripping on stuff or thinking of where to store it or worrying about their precious possessions. It starts taking too much of your time distracting you from the important things in your life. Knowing how to balance and constantly keeping track of that is in itself a proof of self discipline that paves the road to wisdom.

The balance is when you have enough stuff that you don’t worry about it. You should be content with what you have and not price it in such a way that losing it might get your world upside down. It should be good quality and look good so that you feel good about it but it should never be irreplaceable.

What is with the Crafty Upcycling? Lately more and more designers have fallen back to true creative thinking and craftiness. It’s not too difficult to create whatever you can imagine if you have all the means to do it. But the level of happiness doesn’t rise that much with buying designer stuff than when one personally crafts it and puts some effort in it. You appreciate more (are more happy) when you have something nice come out of your hands. You appreciate it that much more when you know it doesn’t hurt the environment. Self growth is another one of our main drives to happiness so learning new skills will keep that feeling longer. Can you see how much it’s already better than buying it?

Upcycling delivers:
– preservation of the environment, by refusing to send waste to landfills to be there for decades;
– added value by investing your effort in creating something;
– constant growth by learning new skills, which has a double effect, once for making you happy as you achieve the desired skill level or the object of exercising the skill and also because knowing how to make something makes you worry less about loosing it or breaking it.

In a perfect world all these could be fulfilled by minimalism, but that is a more sensitive issue as it requires much more discipline and an already elevated level of wisdom and it requires huge scale because it’s effective when everybody adheres to it. I’ll explain this idea in another article. Meanwhile try to be creative and crafty with your waste. If you have a true need that distracts you from pursuing your self-growth find the resources and fulfill it by saving the landfills from yet another piece.

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