So I struggle at times with my minimalist lifestyle and minimalist living in general. I love minimalist living as a concept, I really do. And I think I try to live a minimalist lifestyle.

But if someone were to come in and examine my life they would probably grade me a D or even an F for my efforts. I buy things that should not be bought from stores that should not be visited.

I get mad at myself for it for crying out loud.

Here is an example. It is indeed summer here in Nova Scotia. And it can get very hot and humid. I want to try and enjoy the outdoors so I wanted and athletic type of top that wicks away moisture. I could go and spend 50.00$ on a name brand shirt such as Nike or Reebok, or I can go to the evil empire(Wal-Mart) and spend 8$ for pretty much the same thing.

I could not buy any top and sweat my ass off


I could pay the higher price for a name brand


I could pay 8$ for a lesser quality shirt made in a sweat shop in Bangledesh.

I went with option C. I know. Sigh.

Hence the title of this post. What the fuck is our purpose as members of society? Are we supposed to be drones and just work our asses off and then spend what little money we have on useless crap(I know, I know not ALL stuff is useless), or do we not spend any money on anything and just exist(barely)?

As you can see I am struggling a bit with my place in the minimalist lifestyle world.

We are marketed to 24/7 and in one breath are told that we need to spend to stimulate the economy.

On the other hand we are told to reign in household spending so as not to be carrying so much personal debt.

So which is it?

In my heart of hearts I want to try and sell as much of my stuff as possible, have a very minimalist lifestyle, save as much money over the next 10 years or so and then hit the open road.

There must be more to life than working and paying taxes! Am I wrong? Am I alone in this way of thinking?

What are your thoughts on all of this foolishness?

Has anyone out there sold it all, bought an RV and just hit the road? If yes, please help me to get there!







10 thoughts on “The Whole Point Of Life Is To Have More Stuff

  1. Hi, of course there’s more to life than working and paying taxes. There’s a lot of wondering too, as you well know (otherwise you wouldn’t have a blog).

    I’m pretty sure all of the tops you looked at are made in sweatshops. It’s possible that Nike’s gives their workers an extra spoonful of rice at the end of the day in the name of clear consciences, but no, there’s no escaping it, and one of the reasons capitalism as we know it is so fucked-up is because the biggest contenders (asia) rely on slave labor (that’s what it really is, regardless of how much they insist to rationalize workers’ conditions for our blessed media) – our economy is unsustainable if there aren’t jobs, but as long as “the people” want to have cheap phones and clothes, there’s no way those can be manufactured in the west, creating employment, so I’m not sure this is a phenomenon that’s going away any time soon.

    What I do is wait until quality products are deeply-discounted and buy then or don’t buy something unless I sell something (unless I really really need it) – and this doesn’t really contribute ANYTHING to our economy, so I have my own cognitive dissonances to deal with, as you can see. Stores like have sibling-sites with one-sale-per-day items and I have found great products at these places for half price many times.

    In the meantime, just wear your new top and enjoy it. Nothing wrong with showing once again that conviction is as strong as our financial situation allows. (I’m not judging you; I suffer from the same, except that I was able to identify the problem.)

  2. I have been following you here and there and share the same feelings. We sort of live a miknimalistic life, but that is because we really don’t have an income to speak of, but yet we’ve collected computers for ourselves and just purchased a tv in the last year.

    My husband is VERY frugal at heart, and lived a very spartan lifestyle before we were married. Though I do want to live simple, I have quite a few interests and therefore must find a place for the implements of my interests. I am a knitter, spinner of yarn, jewelry making (as hobbies). I love reading, so I have a small bookcase full of books. Our apartment is a mish mosh of styles, nothing new, a few antique pieces from my grandmother and two lunch tables pushed together for a dining area for company. Our kitchen table is totally out of place as it’s really a small dining room table with a pedestal which annoys the shit outta me when it’s time to wash the floor. This is not working and I’m ashamed inside of how the whole place looks like it was poorly thrown together projecting clashing styles.

    I wanted to write you to tell you to not give up. Find that middle ground, as the old saying goes, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”~Oscar Wilde

    1. the sad thing is what does it really matter what a person’s place looks like. so what if it does not fit some “ideal”. I struggle at times with the same issues of course.

      thanks for sharing.

      1. Well, the thing that really bothers me is the carpeting… really old and really dirty looking though we try to “deep clean” once a year… not working any more. We rent here and don’t see us living here for very much longer… though we really can’t afford to move. The hard fact is that we can’t afford new flooring OR to move… ha. A real pickle, but have faith that it’s temporary.

  3. Have you ever just thought about a broader concept of “happiness and contentment?” That, to me, doesn’t necessarily come with a gauge that has a common needle placement for everyone. I totally agree with you that just attempting to fill some void in your life with “stuff” isn’t the answer, but where saving up to someday hit the road in an RV might be one person’s idea of “arriving,” I would have zero interest in that. I like a few little things here and there along the way that give me some enjoyment out of life. If a $50 shirt serves a better purpose to make you feel more “whole” and “content” because of the quality of the product and the fact that it wasn’t produced under socially unacceptable methods, then for heaven’s sake buy the $50 shirt, wear the heck out of it and be happy. I feel like I have seen too many people in my parents’ generation save and save, not traveling, not doing special things along the way, only to finally arrive at a place where they are not working but now someone has cancer, someone has to have back surgery, someone needs a knee replacement…and they can’t do all of the things they probably should have done when they were younger. I guess I’m just saying that there is nothing wrong with mixing a little carpe diem with minimalist living. If I’m laying on my death bed tomorrow, I’ll be much happier knowing that I travelled to Paris, I walked on beaches around the world, I drank more cocktails than recommended, I said yes to the cheesecake for dessert, I rented a convertible just for the heck of it once, I used the wedding china instead of saving it for nice, and I bought the $50 shirt. 🙂

  4. In my opinion, living minimally isn’t just about paying less taxes or saving enough money to go somewhere (although they are both worthy goals!). To me it’s also, mostly, about the mental and emotional freedom that comes from not being attached to “stuff.” Basically it makes your life easier. If you want an $8 something that makes your life easier, buy it, don’t beat yourself up about it. 🙂 I don’t think you are being wasteful or extravagant.

    Here’s a blog I recently began following – I believe the author sold everything he owned and is now spending six months at a time in different countries. He’s currently in my country, and is very interesting!

  5. This has been one of the more meaningful conversations I have stumbled on in sometime. One of the common themes that I identify with is being deliberate about what we buy with the intent of enhancing our lives not constricting it. Prior to beginning the process of downsizing I was collecting toys and tools with the intent of using them. However, I found that I was working so much to afford these possessions that I rarely enjoyed them. My shift has been to work towards only owning things that contribute to my quality of life and that I use frequently. I also try to do a little research on products before I but them (where were the made, the business practices of the company etc.) this is helpful to a point but as someone mentioned it might just be the difference between a spoon of rice more per day. At least I know my American style consumption is somewhat mindful.

    For me the most important part of the whole thing is that we are having this discussion and that at least the people contributing to this post are thinking not just consuming. Culturally I have yet to find a great example but that does not mean I am going to quit looking or trying to create one. I am a firm subscriber to voluntary simplicity, for my own benefit, my communities benefit and hopefully someday for the benefit of humanity worldwide. As a side note, I am not personally to worried about the planet she will long survive human greed, I don’t know if we will.

  6. There is a distinction between minimalism and self-deprivation.

    I am a single mom. I work from home and I home school. I chose what was most important to me and made that happen. The most important thing in my life is my child and being the type of Mom I think she deserves.

    I try to keep it simple, try being the operative word. I try to keep it eco-friendly. We live on a very limited budget because in order to give my daughter what she really needs right now I need to be available to her.

    Waiting to live the life you want to live is an idea that just isn’t productive. It is self-deprivation. It took my daughter being born for me to realize that.

    BTW, I have used a post or two of yours as part of lessons while teaching my daughter. Thank you! I don’t allow her to follow blogs, yet. I send her posts that I want her to read so we can discuss them.

    All that being said, the fact that you are thinking about what it is you really want and value in life means you are almost at the point of truly living what you want.

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