Where to begin with ownership minimalism?

I find myself fascinated with the beginning lately. What kind of minimalism are you pursuing?

Aesthetic minimalism? Go check out blogs like this and get some ideas for physical design space, or blogs like this for digital design space. Or any number of the blogs on tumblr. There's tons of inspiration there, but realize we're talking about different things.

Ownership minimalism? Now that I can help you with.

The first step to ownership minimalism is to press the stop button and think. Look at what you have. Be mindful of what you have, and what you don't. Think about what you have, and why you have it. Think of the utilitarian purposes. Think of the sentimental value. Think in terms of money, of mind, of matter. Think about what you have and never stop.

To achieve ownership minimalism, you become content with that. You pressed stop, you're here, and you're happy. Realize that ownership growth itself is not inherently a positive action, and that where you are right now is perfectly fine.

From there, you expand your mindfulness. The entire process here is mindful. You are thinking about every step you take, every little shuffle. You begin to become more aware of how your mind works, and what makes you more content and what is easier for you to manage given your lifestyle.

Eventually, once you know yourself and how you treat your ownership, you might find yourself considering eliminating something. The key here is to think about what you're removing. Don't do it lightly. Stress about it for a while if you have the energy. Think about it longer than you would with a purchase. This makes the elimination memorable and with a full mind. Don't flippantly throw objects out. That doesn't leave a lasting impression.

I'm not saying you should concern yourself with making too many mistakes. You should also realize that you will probably, in the steps toward ownership minimalism, eliminate too much, or in the wrong area for you. But if you do something, you should remember why you did it later. It wasn't just because you were in a spring cleaning phase, or a minimalism moment. It was because of a specific set of reasons and this is how you felt when it left you. Concentrate on the positive aspects of the elimination: why has this made your life easier? Even if it's a small thing.

Example. I eliminated iPods. I knew the players were nice to use, but there were issues that I could not overcome. They weren't cross-platform and required bloated programs to maintain. They didn't support audio files I wanted to use. I already had other players I was actively using instead. So I removed them, but not without understanding the above reasons. I didn't have to concentrate and think back on why I eliminated the iPods, and that's why I'm never tempted to buy another.

Sometimes you may find that replacing one with another is something that might work for you. This is a harder proposition, because expectations come into play. Understand that there is often a disparity between what you think something might be and what it actually is. We're often predisposed to think more highly of the new as opposed to the old, and you have to fight that and become a realist. Be mindful of the assumptions you jump to, and don't fall in love with potential.

Remember that replacement is a two step process: addition and subtraction. Both are risks. You can minimize the risk by only doing the first half. In a theoretical example, I enjoy video games, and I want a new PlayStation 3 to replace my old PlayStation 2. I buy the new PS3, but I find myself forgoing it to enjoy the old PS2. Then I can remove the new PS3. Sure, I lost out a bit from reselling the new PS3, but at least I didn't try to replace my old PS2 and magnify the risk. I fully embrace alternatives before eliminating something.

But all of these things just boil down to my first step. Just think about what you have. These are different methods in doing so, and it's a very robust, simple framework for helping with that, but just thinking about your stuff can make a world of difference.

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