A lot of talk about minimalism winds up coming back to a handful of core concepts – one of which is stuff.
We talk about our favorite stuff. We talk about our lack of stuff. We discuss our attachment (or lack thereof) to stuff.
Craig over at Simple Black Coffee ran a series of posts a few months back about just that – our favorite stuff. I talked about my Birkenstocks. Lots of other bloggers weighed in with guest posts about their favorite stuff.
One particularly caught my eye though. Dusti Arab claims to have no attachment to stuff.
I Say Baloney
I don’t believe that anybody doesn’t have favorite possessions. Not for a second.
Let’s pretend that you’re the most rockin’ hardcore minimalist and your worldly possessions all fit into a Zippo lighter case. You only have the clothes on your back (literally). I’m betting the clothes you’re wearing were picked because they were your favorite!
I don’t know about you, but I try not to own things I don’t like. Think about it – when was the last time you were at the store and said, “I HATE THIS! Give me two, please”?
The Function Of Stuff
I don’t think I’m overly attached to stuff. Most stuff in my life is there because it does something I want done, and it does it well. Clothes need to be comfortable. Tools need to be useful. Certain things need to be durable.
Let me give an example.
I have a SureFire flashlight. It’s small, relatively lightweight, and produces more light than a huge flashlight that takes 3 or 4 D cells.
I’ve probably had this flashlight for upwards of eight years. When I go to pick it up, it works. There’s no having to shake it, tap it, or otherwise mess with it. I turn it on, it’s on – 99.99% of the time.
On the rare occasions that it doesn’t come on, it’s because the batteries are dead. But since the lithium batteries have a useful shelf life of 10+ years, I don’t ever have to worry about the backup batteries – I know they’re ready to go.
I don’t own this for status. I own it because I owned a number of flashlights before it, and I got thoroughly sick of dead backup batteries, spotty electrical connections, and dim bulbs.
I own one flashlight, and this is it. I have zero attachment to the brand, other than the fact that I know they make great flashlights. I do, however, enjoy the heck out of the fact that the flashlight just works.
Does That Make Me “Attached To My Possessions”?
I don’t know how to even answer that question, because the question almost doesn’t seem to apply.
When you only own one of something, is it possible for it to *not* be your favorite whatever-it-is?
How does one even define “attachment” in this situation? I use the flashlight often enough that If I lost it, I’d go replace it. After all, if it’s something that fulfills a legitimate purpose in your life, is it possible to not have some sort of attachment to it?
Even Dusti admits (in the linked post above) that she’d “be pissed if her laptop got stolen tomorrow”. Is that attachment?
And if it isn’t, what is?
I’d love to know what you think – let me know your thoughts in the comments!
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