Alexandru Huțu: Purchases

Once you go down the rabbit hole—if I may call it that—of minimalism and simple living, you invariably start thinking more consciously about all the purchases you make. And some people, myself included, tend to become more frugal at first, because saving money is a part of minimalism too, is it not?

There seems to be a conflict between minimalism as a way to enjoy the select few objects you own—yet still lead what most would call a comfortable life—and minimalism as a way to live frugally, only keeping the barest of necessities and not indulging in any luxuries. It’s not that frugality isn’t beneficial—in the end, you are left with more money to spend on valuable things, such as travel and other real-life experiences—but minimalism, at its roots, is an artistic concept, “a reaction against the gestural and autographic excesses of Abstract Expressionism”. A parallel can be drawn between this and the reaction against the excesses of consumerism that minimalism as a lifestyle embodies, and it has nothing to do with living in a cabin with only the clothes on your back. Sure, that’s an ideal for some, but you can be a minimalist without being frugal to the bone.

Becoming more minimal doesn’t have to involve a compromise. You are not a “better minimalist” if you get by with $20 a week or you own a single spoon. And since you no longer feel an urge to buy three matching sets of kitchenware from the discount bin that will undoubtedly break after a few months, you can actually invest a bit more money in higher quality items. Apart from being more satisfying to use, products of good workmanship also tend to last longer, so you won’t have to replace them as frequently (or at all)—a small success in your defiance of our consumption-driven society and also a means of adorning your home and your environment.

To wrap up, paying attention to your expenses is of great importance, but you don’t have to be stingy about it. Buy what makes you happy, as long as impulses don’t trump your judgement, and your list of possessions is not overflowing with gratuitous abundance. Curate, don’t fall into extremes, and most importantly, be rational in your purchases.