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Frugality vs Minimalism (aka Stuff Part 4)

15 September, 2010

Frugality seems to be the antithesis of minimalism.  To be frugal we don’t throw things out; we re-purpose, repair or reuse items.  We  buy in bulk and stockpile. But the more we buy in bulk, the more we stockpile, the more things we keep “just in case” the more space we need to store it all.  Our frugal ways can lead us towards clutter and mess when our frugal purchases and items saved over-fill our frugal (read small) homes.

I was recently referred to an article on The Simple Dollar called Frugality and Accumulation that dealt with this topic.  It talked about the difference between being frugal and being a hoarder.  The best part was in closing when The Simple Dollar said:

In short, if we can’t say that this item won’t have a use in the next two months, we won’t bring it into our home. Even if it’s free.

Sometimes two months is too-short a period for us.  For others it might be too long.  But if we’re not realistically going to use it in the near future then it shouldn’t come into our home.  That means (at this point in time) that I don’t need any more craft/crochet/home improvement projects to work on until the current ones are completed.  It means that we don’t need any summer clothes or shoes for our children.  It means I don’t need to buy myself any more clothes, especially since I am trying to lose the baby weight.  It means I have enough seeds to plant this spring and enough books to read.  It also means that (on the whole) we don’t need to borrow any more books from the library, since we already have plenty of reading material at the moment.

Having too many possessions can also be the antithesis of frugal.  If you have too many things crammed into your house, then it is likely you will find it difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for and will end up buying another – sometimes not even realising you already own one (or four).  To prevent this we purchase containers to corral like items, which costs us more money.  The more possessions we have the more objects we have to clean and maintain and repair.  All of which cost time, if not money.

We need to find a new frugal.  A frugal that is beautiful and simple.  A frugal that is not cluttered with “stuff”.  A frugal that doesn’t suffocate but frees.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 15 September, 2010 2:10 pm

    I can so relate to that post. When you are trying so hard not to be wastful it is very hard to throw things out. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • 15 September, 2010 2:56 pm

      There’s a balance there I struggle to attain. With four children each. Our homes are never going to be minimalistic paradises but I have to remind myself that it’s still not an excuse for owning mounds of excess stuff.

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