Most minimalist posts on the web focus on what the writers own. What about what they don’t? Here is a list of the things you might be surprised I don’t own, the reasons why, the benefits and drawbacks of it.
I currently have a fridge at home because I'm in a shared flat, but I usually don’t have any. I mostly avoid storing too much food and prefer shopping on a regular basis. With proper technique you can store most of the food without a fridge. Well, it helps to be vegetarian… When you really need it, it’s time to ask your nice neighbour for a space in his/her fridge and an occasion to share a (fresh?) drink.
It could seem like you would waste more food by not having a fridge but as far as I’m concerned it’s quite the opposite. Everything is on sight and I never forget something I have cooked, something that happens quite often when I do own a fridge.
A washing machine
I do my laundry by hand, every day or every two days. It may sound boring but I find it actually less boring than having to hang a full laundry every time and having to own enough clothes to wait for the next one. As I only own very few clothes, it’s only logical to wash clothes by hands. When I travel I don’t have to get into a new routine. I don’t own a dish washer for the same reasons.
And for the occasional big needs you can always borrow someone's machine, pay for laundry service or go to the laundromat.
A tablet or an e-reader
While it may seem minimalist, I sort of consider it "cheating" to store 1000 books in a e-reader and say that you don’t own any book! But mostly I try to avoid electronic devices as much as I can for ecological and philosophical reasons. I like it when a book just comes into my life randomly, it leaves space for serendipity and surprises. The electronic version doesn’t allow me to live with the flow the same way. Instead I just go for a unique book and stick to it, then give it away and start again. And when I really like it I keep it and it acts as a decoration and as an inspiration. Good luck to do that with an e-reader!
printer: an expensive device that will not work the day you need it, cost you a million dollars in ink and will be broken in a blink.
Ok, that might not be the official definition but it’s pretty close to the reality. Ah… I HATE printers. So much. If you live near a printer service, it has advantages:
- It could be much cheaper if you make an occasional use of you printer
- You can choose printing/paper quality depending on your needs without investing
- It’s ecological (you don’t buy another device)
- The result will be professional
- You won’t risk to kill someone when you throw away your printer by the window
Of course if you have an urgent need on a Sunday this might be a problem. Call you neighbour again… and don’t forget to bring a homemade-pie! If you really want a printer at home I would suggest offering your neighbour to borrow it when then need and save them the trouble of buying one. After all, you’re using their fridge for your beers/kombucha, aren’t you?
A proper bed
Once again, I currently have a bed in my room because it was included in the flat rental, but I usually sleep either in my hammock or on the floor with what I have with me. It can be a yoga mat, blankets, a sheepskin, a futon… I really enjoy the hammock, especially for looking a movie as your head rest in the perfect position for that. Plus it’s really nice for cuddles!
When I move out I don’t have to sell or move anything bulky. I have never found mattress very hygienic either as you can’t really clean them. They can also lead to allergies. Sheepskin is a popular non-vegan alternative and has natural antibacterial properties. If you don’t mind sleeping on someone’s skin that is…
Check out this video of my friend Clara about sleeping on the floor.
A vacuum cleaner
It’s an easy one to get rid of. Just use a broom. And I hate carpet-like floors anyway! Vacuum cleaners are noisy and require cleaning, and possibly to change the dust bag. It’s expensive if you want quality, heavy and bulky.
And I live in a country where it can rain quite often! I find myself just waiting for the rain to stop or use a beanie or a hood. Or a fez (Fez are cool). Borrowing an umbrella is usually quite easy too. For hiking and travelling during rainy season I use a poncho. How many umbrellas did you break or forget in a shop?
Just because almost everyone owns it doesn’t mean you need too. Sharing items with your neighbours or your community is an amazing way to save money, declutter your house and avoid pollution, especially for electronic devices. You could be surprised by the things you can do once you’ve integrated them into your daily or weekly routines.