What a time to be a minimalist

In the picture above, every single remote I found at my parent’s home. These days, they only use two of them.

In just a few years, technology has completely redefined our homes. Our parents and grandparents have embraced the innovations, seeing their quality of life improve with each one.

Our homes have witnessed this evolution. Just take a look at those CDs or DVDs, for example. Not to mention VHS, cassette or vinyl, with their respective players, speakers, cables, controls, etc.

Nowadays, something like that no longer makes any sense.

Ironically, it is technological advances themselves that have opened up the possibility of living in a more detached way.

We are incredibly lucky to be able to concentrate the value of thousands of utilities in a few devices, at a high quality and an affordable cost. And on top of that, if we back up the information in the cloud we gain flexibility and minimize the dependence on the device itself. A great time to be a minimalist, indeed.

At least on a personal level, the freedom that this offers us is unusual. From this perspective, never in our history have we had a similar opportunity to depend so little on material objects, without having to give up on their main benefits.

And yet, it still really hard for us to let them go.

This is only natural. “Why would I empty my house? Think about the effort it took to fill it in the first place!” — you’ll think. You don’t have to, but just consider each of your material possessions as something that, at the very least:

  • It’s an investment in money and time (which you won’t get back)
  • Requires a place to be stored
  • Involves some degree of emotional attachment

Don’t get me wrong: it’s not a matter of setting your library on fire just because you can stack it in a Kindle.

Let’s be honest, reading on paper has its charm, unfortunately for the environment. It’s strange how collecting books it might give you a feeling of achievement, knowledge or warmth. But consider this: if 95% of them have been gathering dust for decades, what purpose do they serve? Why not donate them and make your way to a lighter life?

I know, I know… easier said than done. But if you don’t take action on them, remember — someday someone will for you.

The true value of a book —or by extension, a CD, DVD or any other object whose function/content can be put into in a device— lies in the value you get out of it, what teaches you or how it makes you feel. Not in its container.

To some extent, this is paradoxical. As we “free ourselves” from the material and concentrate its value in a device, our dependence on it also increases. And as with anything else, it is our duty to make a responsible use of it.

To conclude, I think it’s funny to mention that I conceived this post on a sheet of paper. I know what you’re thinking, throwing the rock and hiding the hand, right? Anyway… I simply encourage you to find your own balance.

Take a moment to reflect on how technology can improve your life by reducing your dependence on the material. With less, you make room for more.