I recently came across the term ‘Downsizing’ which in this case basically just means ‘get rid of all the useless stuff you don’t need anymore’ or just “simplify your life’. And it seems to be only known in germany as ‘Downsizing’ because we germans like to use english words that no one else uses – a Handy is what native english speakers call Mobile or Cell (-ular Phone). No matter how you call it, I found this subject to be quite interesting and worth mentioning.
You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.
– Tyler Durden – Fight Club
Just about two years ago my girlfriend and I moved into a new flat. Before moving we tried to get rid of some stuff we thought that we really didn’t need anymore e.g. some books. But for us, like for many other people, selling or even throwing away our beloved books was a sacrilege. Something you don’t talk, no not even think about. Because well Books!
Finally we managed to say ‘let’s be at least a bit reasonable here’ and got rid of some of them yes even of some of our comics. Well but still very often we said ‘well we’ll probably never read them again but they look so nice in the shelves’ and kept them. So we had a new flat and shelves full of stuff which was nice to look at.
On the other hand I’ve been using a Ebook-Reader since 2011 and we both are just using cloud services for watching Movies and TV-Series like Netflix or Amazon Prime. And we listen to music through Spotify since Mord than a year now. In 2014 my girlfriend, who had resisted for a very long time, also started using a Ebook-Reader. She just had to admit that for simple reading the concept of an e-book is simply better, despite from the feel and the smell of a paper book. For science books and especially books with pictures or diagrams in them th paper version still is much better of course. additionally we both started reading Comics with our tablets, my girlfriend started this shortly after using ebooks.
And that’s just the simply facts. We didn’t really have use anymore for a ‘hardcopy’ of everything. We’ve been ‘going digital’ now for some time and our collections of books, movies, comics where simply collecting more and more dust. And so one thing led to another. I stumbled upon blogs of people writing about this thing called ‘Downsizing’, like this german article ‘Raus damit! Mein erster ernstzunehmender Versuch, minimalistischer zu leben‘ and I myself was, again, thinking about getting rid of all the useless, dusty stuff. So I talked to my girlfriend, she kinda felt the same and we started to let loose and get rid of things. This time with much more enthusiasm than last time.
And believe me I hear you when you say ‘But what if…?’. But what if Netflix, Spotify, Amazon or any other streaming provider shuts down, closes your account or all the digital cloud stuff is lost? But what if we are hit by an EMP shockwave and you can’t read any books because you can’t use your Ebook-Reader anymore? And what if…? And I know how hard this can be and some of the criticism about the usage of all the digital stuff and especially cloud services is very true. But I said something about being reasonable and that’s what counts here for me or better said for us.
And with a realistic view on things one has to admit that most of the books are only read one time, most of the movies and TV series are only watched one time. And let’s be honest: we only buy CDs to rip them as MP3s and then listen to our music on our smartphones or MP3-Players. Well to be fair this is not true for all people but for a vast majority it is and we belong to this majority. We don’t have audio equipment worth tens of thousands of dollars nor do we read or watch all our collected stuff more often. Yes in many cases you can’t lend your e-books to anyone else, but what if you never did this with the hardcopies before? Same goes for movies. For us this is just the better way, for you it might be not. And I don’t want to discuss the pros and cons of digital and/or cloud content in-depth.
Now I have to say that it really feels good to have less. It feels like getting rid of a heavy burden that you just didn’t feel before. It’s a bit sad to see the empty shelves now but it also makes fun to thing about what can go in there now. This doesn’t mean that we’ll buy a lot of new stuff now to fill the emptiness. No we have so much stuff in hidden places or just things that is lying arround on our desks, like my camera gear, because there simply wasn’t any space left where we could have stored it in a better way. But we can do this now. We can just live more organized with less useless things that we only kept for sentimental reasons.
Compared to people who are really living a simpler live we have just arrived at the starting line. But at least we arrived there and we can move on from that point. Next thing might be the PS3-Videogames Collection or even the console itself. And also clothes where I kinda feel that I have too much stuff. Or maybe even boardgames because I own some that we just don’t play anymore. Oh and of course hardware which can be spent to projects like Labdoo like svij already did with several old notebooks from the company we’re working at.
As you can see there are many parts, and I just did mention a few of them, where you can try to simplify your life. Maybe it’s not about books and all this cloud stuff for you but you have other things that you didn’t use for a long time. Well then try it for yourself, be reasonable and get rid of them. You might feel better afterwards too.