They say that material desires are never-ending. No matter how badly you want something, as soon as you get it you’ll just find something else that you just “have to have,” and you will never fill that void you’re trying so desperately to fill by going out and buying more useless tchotchkes.
In my experience, I’ve found that in almost every case, buying something I want really does noticeably and measurably improve my overall quality of life. In a sense it fills me with a feeling of contentment. I’m sure that’s not the case for everyone, but it really is for me.
I’m not talking about the big stuff. I don’t mean giant HDTVs, sports cars, and other frivilous junk. I’m talking about about the ordinary, commonplace, inconspicuous, arguably boring types of things. Typically, I am a pretty frugal guy and live relatively inexpenisvely, but here lately I’ve not been shy about going to the store and picking up these little trinkets that I come into contact with on a day-to-day basis. Sure, I want to save money as much as the next guy, but the way I see it, everything could go tits up at any moment, and it’s nice to know that I have a solid life foundation for when those days come and I’m looking for a way to support my livelihood. As they say, you need to make hay while the sun is shining.
I submit to you a sample list of items I’m talking about:
- Gel wrist rests for my mouse and keyboard
- An overhead range hood for my kitchen stove
- Wireless chargers for my phone (one for my desk, one for my nightstand)
- A large pack of tea towels for the kitchen
- A butter dish
- A napkin dispenser
- Pasta canisters
- Wooden ice cream sampling spoons
- An egg basket for the fridge
- A kitchen vegetable bin for holding potatos and onions
- A kosher salt box
On their own, each of those purchases are arguably “not necessary” and serve only to slightly improve an admittedly small part of my life. But really, when you think about it, all the small stuff adds up to define your overall material quality of life. So really, each time I fix a small problem or improve some aspect I’m slowly chipping away at the rough edges. And once I solve a problem, I don’t long for something else — that particular itch gets scratched. That’s the feeling of contentment I mentioned earlier.
So while I appreciate the push for minimalism, and the Marie Kondo-ing of people’s lives, for me it’s about striking a balance between things that don’t improve your life, and things that do. Don’t keep junk around for the sake of keeping it around, but if it improves your life at all, for goodness sakes, don’t toss it out!