Pro/Con: Minimalism

October 23, 2018 — by Justin Guo and Rohan Kumar

One reporter finds that cutting down on excess accessories lets him focus on the important things, while the other argues that there is no need to discard unused items to abide by a more minimalist lifestyle.

Pro:

Recently, I cleaned up my mess of a desk and found myself tossing out mountains of scratch paper, miscellaneous old toys and several very worn out books.

While many of the items I threw out had some sentimental value to me, I realized that, in the long run, a lot of it was unnecessary junk that just took up space in my room.

And there lies the fundamental reason for minimalism: Clutter adds to the distractions in your life and reduces the overall quality of living.

It seems that people over dramatize this idea, thinking that in order to be considered a minimalist, they must get rid of most of their personal belongings or maintain a budget of under $100 per month.

All I’m suggesting is try to implement this philosophy in stages and see how it pans out.

You don’t have to go to drastic measures and completely revamp how you live, but try to cut down on spending or get rid of some things you don’t need. By doing this, it will help you value the things that you do have and make you take more care of them.

Through minimalism, I’ve spent less on things I realize are unnecessary, such as more clothes or extra accessories. A minimalistic lifestyle isn’t for everyone. But for me, it’s helped bring focus to the more important parts of my life: my education and my health.

Con:

I refuse to part with my electronic Star Wars battleship set, or my collection of seven TinTin books that I haven’t read in three years, or my LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 set. Why should I?

People often say that minimalism is the best policy, arguing that you should keep what you don’t need. And I counter: There’s absolutely no need to get rid of things that don’t impact you negatively.

Everything has a purpose, regardless of whether you use it or not, and everything has the potential to be useful. If there is no harm in keeping something, even the smallest probability that it can help is worth it.

This principle does not only apply to physical things, like my collection of 17 Rubik’s cubes that have been covered by a curtain for nearly two years now. On my phone, I never uninstall games until I run out of storage. Even in terms of my extracurricular interests, I like keeping my options open. I study biology because it fascinates me, but I continue to study computer science, physics and more, just in case. I continue to be a math club coach even though it doesn’t mesh with my interest in biology, just because it’s enjoyable.

But wait, isn’t this hoarding?

No. Nope. Absolutely not. Actually … maybe. Although keeping things like this falls under the barebones definition of hoarding, calling it hoarding would associate it with actions that are actually harmful. Hoarding comes with a negative connotation, and this is because hoarding money and other valuable objects often hurts the economy.

However, simple collecting is not harmful to anybody and is a far cry from hoarding.

Ultimately, I would not be able to stand a truly minimalist lifestyle. The prospect of throwing away the most obscure thing I own, uninstalling the most boring game on my phone, or giving up one of my extracurriculars is too hard for me to face. Until my house becomes so full that I need a bulldozer to get in and out, I will refuse to begin cutting down.

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