Any Minimalists on here?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby hoppy08520 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:10 pm

bp8006 wrote:
Sunny Sarkar wrote:When I need to microwave something for 20 seconds, I do it for 22 seconds instead - so that I move my finger one less time.

Glad to know I'm not the only one who does this!

Same here! This forum is the first time I've encountered another one who does this too.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby linguini » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:13 pm

I'm not a minimalist. The total amount of non-essential spending I do is quite small compared to my income because I don't have expensive tastes and I keep an eye on total spending, but I revel in buying and consuming things: food, games, electronics, travel, books, appliances, entertainment, theater, concerts, you name it. I don't feel any guilt or shame about my consumption habits. I feel no compulsion to stop spending on the activities and things that I enjoy. I find that my consumption habits are mentally and socially stimulating, and often intrinsically exciting because I get to try out new things. :)

It's not for everyone, but it's the type of lifestyle I prefer.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Dave76 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:17 pm

Perhaps it would be best to define the term. Is a Minimalist someone who only consumes 'essential' goods and services?
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby legion » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:34 pm

hey I am a minimalist or at least strive to be, thanks for this thread I had no idea I was one!
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Alex Frakt » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:51 pm

BBL wrote:
snyder66 wrote:I think it's an idea more than a label. Not confining. A little different than some of my vegan friends...


I agree. Sometimes if you say [label yourself as] you are a whatever - stoic, minimalist, etc. others infer certain attributes which may or may not apply. I try to steer-clear of that.

Boglehead? :-)
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Alex Frakt » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:06 pm

Default User BR wrote:I don't think many minimalists would be using a computer and internet connection to post on a web forum.

AFAIK, minimalism does not equal asceticism. Anyway, a laptop + network connection allows the aspiring minimalist to do without a TV, radio, file cabinet full of important papers, home phone, newspaper/magazine/catalog delivery and reference books, including cookbooks.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby black jack » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:58 pm

Dave76 wrote:
Fallible wrote:
reggiesimpson wrote:I suspect the word "minimalist" is a synonym for "frugal" on this post. Well i have proof that i am a minimalist as my wife uses another synonym......"cheap".


Reminds me of a lunch I had a few years ago with a group of Bogleheads. I was relatively new to the group and one guy was completely new. After listening to the others describe their frugal ways, I thought, "This is my group, my kind of people." The new guy called us a "bunch of cheapskates" and I never saw him again.


Bogleheads could probably make communism work. Wouldn't that be something?


OTOH, Bogleheads might not be able to make the US economy (driven primarily by consumer spending) work. Wouldn't that be something? :wink:
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby happymob » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:33 am

Too many books. OK, 10-year-old travel books really should go. Much of the fictions could go. Non-fiction we won't possibly read again... should go. Surely, I can get public domain (and therefore digital) books to replace my math books. Gardening books will stay. Cookbooks will stay (despite using the Internet for recipes as often as the cookbooks). Computer science library will stay (though I could pare it down some, but you'll have to pull Code Complete from my cold dead hands). Yeah, we could probably cut the size of our house in half without causing any major issues.

Quick edit - along with "books", the other category where we are clearly out-of-whack compared to a "normal" family is kitchen stuff. Do we really need the fondue pots? The double boiler does get used, but is it critical? How many saute pans does a family really need? Is 1 enough? 2? 4 seems excessive. But all 4 do get used in our non-minimalist household.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby stemikger » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:57 am

Norris wrote:I'm a Minimalist wanabe. My wife and daughter? Not so much. I think simplicity is underrated, not only in investing, but life in general.

Norris


+1000 I posted this before I saw what you wrote. It was almost word for word.

I am a man of very little needs and/or wants. My wife has about 200 pairs of shows but yet everytime we have an affair to go she has to run out to DSW because she says she has no shoes to wear. And God forbid I mention that to her and we have a fight. I on the other hand have two pairs of shows brown and black and a pair of sneakers.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Fallible » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:24 am

Dave76 wrote:Perhaps it would be best to define the term. Is a Minimalist someone who only consumes 'essential' goods and services?


The definition(s) has (have) many applications so it's best to check the dictionary (-ies). In other words, its meaning, at least to me, is somewhat elusive and not always easy to apply. But here's what it means most to me: "Being or providing a bare minimum of what is necessary." What's necessary to me is what's essential, what's truly important. Ironic that a word meaning simple isn't.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ~Aristotle
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby climber2020 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:27 am

An article from today that discusses this topic:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/opini ... d=all&_r=0
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby trudy » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:57 am

I'm getting rid of more and more stuff as I get older. It only takes being an executor or watching someone else being an executor and, after charitable donations or recycling things, having three dumpsters of her Mom's stuff taken away to decide not to do that to your survivors.

It does take a few cycles of going through stuff to really pare things down.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Fallible » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:04 am

VictoriaF wrote:Yes


Clever, and I just realized there are times when a period is not needed
:happy
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:04 am

trudy wrote:I'm getting rid of more and more stuff as I get older. It only takes being an executor or watching someone else being an executor and, after charitable donations or recycling things, having three dumpsters of her Mom's stuff taken away to decide not to do that to your survivors.

It does take a few cycles of going through stuff to really pare things down.


On the other hand, it is emotionally much easier for the survivors to get rid of someone's junk than for the owner herself. If the goal is to minimize misery, why not to delegate the disposal to the executors?

Victoria
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:07 am

.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby trudy » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:08 am

happymob wrote:Too many books. OK, 10-year-old travel books really should go. Much of the fictions could go. Non-fiction we won't possibly read again... should go.


You may know this already, but libraries often take used books to sell at book sales and get money to buy new books. Also flea markets or thrift stores run by local charitable groups may take them. Paperbacks can, of course, also go into recycling.

For getting rid of other stuff, freecycle works fairly well. Be prepared for people to not show up. Or things put next to the street with a Free sign on them disappear quickly in most places.
Last edited by trudy on Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:10 am

Fallible wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Yes


Clever, and I just realized there are times when a period is not needed
:happy


Or a period is all it takes {cryptic observation}

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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby trudy » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:16 am

VictoriaF wrote:
trudy wrote:I'm getting rid of more and more stuff as I get older. It only takes being an executor or watching someone else being an executor and, after charitable donations or recycling things, having three dumpsters of her Mom's stuff taken away to decide not to do that to your survivors.

It does take a few cycles of going through stuff to really pare things down.


On the other hand, it is emotionally much easier for the survivors to get rid of someone's junk than for the owner herself. If the goal is to minimize misery, why not to delegate the disposal to the executors?

Victoria


No, the opposite I think. "Gosh, this was Mom's how can I throw it out." When I think about throwing out my own stuff, I use the "flood rule." Some years ago there was a smallish flood where I lived that ruined stuff in a storage room. Now I saw, if this were ruined, would I care? No - out it goes.

I'm not saying I don't keep stuff of no value to anyone but me. Term papers from college, for example. But at least I put them in labeled boxes or clearly on a bookshelf so they'll be easy for those left behind to throw out without sorting through them.

Just be careful not to throw out stuff like family photos. My Mom (who was not a hoarder) threw out or gave away things from my great granddad's bottling company, including a wooden case of bottles. Agh. I have managed to get quite a few bottles from ebay saved searches, but no wooden case. It's amazing what turns up on ebay. Who would save and put up for sale a bunch of postcards from a bottling company? Someone did, thank you.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Fallible » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:21 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Fallible wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Yes


Clever, and I just realized there are times when a period is not needed
:happy


Or a period is all it takes {cryptic observation}

Victoria


Minimalism at its best (least)
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby retiredjg » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:41 am

VictoriaF wrote:On the other hand, it is emotionally much easier for the survivors to get rid of someone's junk than for the owner herself.

This door swings both ways.

While I believe what you said is true, I also believe the opposite is true. Sometimes the survivors just can't part with what amounts to a lot of junk...because it belonged to a loved one.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby whatever » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:05 pm

Default User BR wrote:I don't think many minimalists would be using a computer and internet connection to post on a web forum.


Brian

Unless they walked to their local library.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby czeckers » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:43 pm

I'm a minimalist at heart but all those kids keep getting in the way.

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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby rodfatherjr » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:29 pm

hand wrote:Yes...

x2
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby p14175 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:27 pm

I was looking to buy a pair of minimalist shoes, but they cost too much. I settled for a pair of generic (very inexpensive) water shoes from a well-known big box retailer instead. They are exactly what I wanted.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby papito23 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:56 pm

trudy wrote:
happymob wrote:Too many books. OK, 10-year-old travel books really should go. Much of the fictions could go. Non-fiction we won't possibly read again... should go.


You may know this already, but libraries often take used books to sell at book sales and get money to buy new books. Also flea markets or thrift stores run by local charitable groups may take them. Paperbacks can, of course, also go into recycling.

For getting rid of other stuff, freecycle works fairly well. Be prepared for people to not show up. Or things put next to the street with a Free sign on them disappear quickly in most places.


I've used www.PaperBackSwap.com to keep hundreds of new (to me) books circulating through my library without expanding shelves. Only costs as much as a media mail shipment each.
A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. -Aldo Leopold's Golden Rule of Ecology
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby CyberBob » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:36 pm

Default User BR wrote:I don't think many minimalists would be using a computer and internet connection to post on a web forum.

As Alex mentioned above, minimalism doesn't equal asceticism. Digital technology goes a long way in helping one to have less physical 'stuff'. Check out the article Cult of less: Living out of a hard drive.

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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby letsgobobby » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:20 am

snyder66 wrote:I realize that it is a word that could easily convey frugal or otherwise. But, I have been reading a lot regrading this way of life and find it fascination. Not so much for my wife and kids.


And therein lies the rub.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Mrs.Feeley » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:45 am

trudy wrote: My Mom (who was not a hoarder) threw out or gave away things from my great granddad's bottling company, including a wooden case of bottles. Agh. I have managed to get quite a few bottles from ebay saved searches, but no wooden case. It's amazing what turns up on ebay. Who would save and put up for sale a bunch of postcards from a bottling company? Someone did, thank you.


Umm... What was the name of that bottling company? My dad worked for a distributor and at one point drove a truck for a bottling company. I still have a few wooden crates in the garage filled with holiday lights. I'm trying, really trying to become a minimalist. Honest! But it's really hard when you're a homeowner. :wink:
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby BBL » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:16 am

Alex Frakt wrote:
BBL wrote:
snyder66 wrote:I think it's an idea more than a label. Not confining. A little different than some of my vegan friends...


I agree. Sometimes if you say [label yourself as] you are a whatever - stoic, minimalist, etc. others infer certain attributes which may or may not apply. I try to steer-clear of that.

Boglehead? :-)


:beer Boglehead. Such a great term. The beauty of it is that I can't use it in the real world because I don't know anyone that would know what it means. I have just as little need to refer to myself as a Boglehead here because it would seem obvious and redundant. Problem solved. :D
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Curlyq » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:40 pm

When I lived in Europe, I remember a French person telling me that Americans will take $200 and buy 10 cheap $20 sweaters, which will not fit well and will all look terrible after one or two washings (think Walmart), while a European will buy one quality $200 sweater and wear it for many years (think designer cashmere). That has stuck with me and may help define minimalism. As for consumerism, the same amount, $200 is being spent, but in a very different way.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby snodog » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:30 pm

Sunny Sarkar wrote:When I need to microwave something for 20 seconds, I do it for 22 seconds instead - so that I move my finger one less time.


Ha ha ha, I thought I was the only one who did this!!

I also use a hand towel to dry off after taking a shower because a regular towel is way too much towel.

Wife thinks I'm weird on both accounts. :annoyed
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby The Wizard » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:38 pm

I'm definitely not a minimalist.
I have lots of STUFF, more than average, I'm sure.
Much of my accumulation has been well used and/or continues to be used.
Or is held in reserve in case the need for its use arises again.
Some stuff, like my wall-mounted turntable from back in the 70's, I just look at and smile, knowing it will likely never be used again...
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Default User BR » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:17 pm

snodog wrote:
Sunny Sarkar wrote:When I need to microwave something for 20 seconds, I do it for 22 seconds instead - so that I move my finger one less time.

Ha ha ha, I thought I was the only one who did this!!

I picked that up from Donovan Jon Fandre, who used to have a microwave cooking show on PBS way back when.


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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby ryuns » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:19 pm

p14175 wrote:I was looking to buy a pair of minimalist shoes, but they cost too much. I settled for a pair of generic (very inexpensive) water shoes from a well-known big box retailer instead. They are exactly what I wanted.


Good recommendation. I found a good article about zero-drop/minimalist shoes on a budget and they had a few water shoe recommendations. Glad it's working for you. Some of it depends on the type of use, because some of the water shoes (along with Converse all stars, which also get recommended as minimalist shoes) can fall apart pretty quickly if you're using them for running, weight lifting, and whatever else. Good option, especially for people whose feet aren't ready for 100% minimalism, is trying to snag a pair of indoor soccer shoes from an Adidas outlet. Still pretty pricey though.
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:50 pm

I've been thinking that the concept of minimalism contains an internal contradiction. Keeping everything at the minimum requires nontrivial effort. But nontrivial effort is non-minimal effort, and thus to be a minimalist one can't behave minimally.

Now, a maximalist is a different story: maximum effort for maximum everything.

Victoria
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby BHCadet » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:12 am

Just throw away the lawn chairs and stool in the front porch.
The clutters are gone and we feel much better.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Fallible » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:46 pm

VictoriaF wrote:I've been thinking that the concept of minimalism contains an internal contradiction. Keeping everything at the minimum requires nontrivial effort. But nontrivial effort is non-minimal effort, and thus to be a minimalist one can't behave minimally.

Now, a maximalist is a different story: maximum effort for maximum everything.

Victoria


But if a minimalist can't behave minimally, how is it that you, a minimalist I think, could produce the most minimalistic post on this thread: a period? Just one beautiful little . :happy

Even if minimalism takes some effort, what a delightful effort it is to recognize true essence and strip away the nonessentials. I also suspect true minimalists are born to prefer the least, though they may have to learn to recognize true essence in all things. Can you remember as a child saying or thinking something like, "This is all I need to do that. I don't need all that other stuff"? (This of course usually requires that you have a goal and know the best way to get there.) Or did you enjoy learning what nonessentials were and then almost gleefully stripping them away? Or sometimes knowing essence is intuitive, you just sense it, or at least you can see what is nonessential, allowing you to get to the essential.

And yet you're right about the nontrivial (not the math/engineering kind, right?) effort If you apply minimalism to writing, in which case you would write concisely, succinctly, making every word count. You would, as Will Strunk said in The Elements of Style, "Omit needless words." Experienced writers know that writing long is often easier, lazy writing; writing tight takes more mental effort. But isn't it worth it?
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Flashes1 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:25 pm

No I'm not a minimalist, but my wife and I unload things as we no longer use them. We just built a 5,200 square ft house though and have filled it with beautiful things----and I'm in process of installing a putting green in the backyard with a huge fire pit and outdoor grilling area. My wife and I were cheap for many years....then 2008 comes and we lose 50% of our net worth overnight.....it made us realize that we should enjoy some of the nicer things in life. We are very happy with our decision.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:40 am

Fallible wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:I've been thinking that the concept of minimalism contains an internal contradiction. Keeping everything at the minimum requires nontrivial effort. But nontrivial effort is non-minimal effort, and thus to be a minimalist one can't behave minimally.

Now, a maximalist is a different story: maximum effort for maximum everything.

Victoria


But if a minimalist can't behave minimally, how is it that you, a minimalist I think, could produce the most minimalistic post on this thread: a period? Just one beautiful little . :happy


Hi Fallible,

My point (smile) was that creating one beautiful minimalist point took non-minimal amount of thinking and experimentation.

Fallible wrote:Even if minimalism takes some effort, what a delightful effort it is to recognize true essence and strip away the nonessentials. I also suspect true minimalists are born to prefer the least, though they may have to learn to recognize true essence in all things. Can you remember as a child saying or thinking something like, "This is all I need to do that. I don't need all that other stuff"? (This of course usually requires that you have a goal and know the best way to get there.) Or did you enjoy learning what nonessentials were and then almost gleefully stripping them away? Or sometimes knowing essence is intuitive, you just sense it, or at least you can see what is nonessential, allowing you to get to the essential.


The minimal outcome can be quite elegant, even beautiful. Stripping stuff away is a liberating experience. But a liberating or rewarding experience is not necessarily a minimal experience, in fact, it seldom is. And why would we want to shortcut pleasurable experiences?

Fallible wrote:And yet you're right about the nontrivial (not the math/engineering kind, right?) effort If you apply minimalism to writing, in which case you would write concisely, succinctly, making every word count. You would, as Will Strunk said in The Elements of Style, "Omit needless words." Experienced writers know that writing long is often easier, lazy writing; writing tight takes more mental effort. But isn't it worth it?


You hit the nail on the head! Writing is the best example I know where less is more, but getting to less takes more work, much much more work.

Do you remember Ariely's examples of the endowment effect where students valued their mugs more than identical mugs at the university shop (test and control groups of students, respectively)? I think we also experience a strong endowment effect with the words we put on the page. As soon as we have thought of something, as soon as we have written or typed it, it becomes ours and thus very difficult to let go. Someone should write a dissertation about it.

Victoria
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Norris » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:45 am

stemikger wrote:
Norris wrote:I'm a Minimalist wanabe. My wife and daughter? Not so much. I think simplicity is underrated, not only in investing, but life in general.

Norris


+1000 I posted this before I saw what you wrote. It was almost word for word.

I am a man of very little needs and/or wants. My wife has about 200 pairs of shows but yet everytime we have an affair to go she has to run out to DSW because she says she has no shoes to wear. And God forbid I mention that to her and we have a fight. I on the other hand have two pairs of shows brown and black and a pair of sneakers.


LOL :) I can identify! Marriage is not only a commitment, it's a compromise.

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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Fallible » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:48 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Fallible wrote:...
Fallible wrote:And yet you're right about the nontrivial (not the math/engineering kind, right?) effort If you apply minimalism to writing, in which case you would write concisely, succinctly, making every word count. You would, as Will Strunk said in The Elements of Style, "Omit needless words." Experienced writers know that writing long is often easier, lazy writing; writing tight takes more mental effort. But isn't it worth it?


You hit the nail on the head! Writing is the best example I know where less is more, but getting to less takes more work, much much more work.

Do you remember Ariely's examples of the endowment effect where students valued their mugs more than identical mugs at the university shop (test and control groups of students, respectively)? I think we also experience a strong endowment effect with the words we put on the page. As soon as we have thought of something, as soon as we have written or typed it, it becomes ours and thus very difficult to let go. Someone should write a dissertation about it. ...


Hi Victoria,

Yes, the endowment effect is a perfect example! (I love seeing the social experiments, especially from Ariely, Kahneman, etc., applied to everyday life.) It's very nearly impossible to let go of what is ours and I know I've fought hard to keep even just a phrase I thought was good, only to realize later it wasn't really that good. But you're an experienced and excellent writer, why not do that dissertation?

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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Norris » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:02 pm

Levett wrote:I am an aspirational minimalist.

I'd like to get there, but it will take some work. :wink:

I am ever mindful of Emerson's observation: "Things are in the saddle, / And ride mankind."

Lev


Good quote. I also like Thoreau's "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone".

Norris
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby jridger2011 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:40 am

Being a minimalist also requires someone to part with stuff they no longer find useful. The hoarder/overly frugal types have a difficult time with that, since they spent X dollars on something, no matter how long they have used it, or even if it is no longer in use, it's still worth that much in their minds and it is difficult to get rid of it. I am certain people who have done estate cleans have found broken vcr's, rusted tea kettles, etc. the person never threw out because they spent good money on it.

Being a minimalist requires some discipline to walk away from things that are nice to have, but really not necessary for day to day living or maximum happiness. I am not a minimalist but I try to look at everything with the idea in mind that I will throw it away at some point or delete it, if it is a digital product.
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Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Postby Taylor Larimore » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:02 pm

Henry David Thoreau - "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify."


And this applies to investing.

Best wishes
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle
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