Contrary

One of the counterintuitive things about minimalism is that it's really about having things. If you think about it though, when the things that you have are constrained, the suitability of any given item for it's purpose is of critical importance. Those things that you have quickly become things that you put a lot of consideration into. This doesn't mean that a minimalist is immune to excesses, or to acquiring things that are in some way superfluous - but it means that those things that are needed, that are truly important, tend to be chosen very carefully. You find that you're willing to go that bit further and invest that bit more for the thing that is better, rather than that which is simply convenient or economical.

This is often difficult to explain, as by and large people's priorities do not mesh well with this philosophy. The fact that I have been looking for a new wallet for over a year has bemused my friends. My wallet is falling apart, in places the leather is completely worn away or the stitching is gone. I'm asked why I don't simply walk into town and spend ten pounds on a new one. It's a sensible question. Why don't I?

The answer is that my current wallet and the very many like it that are readily available simply do not suit my somewhat spartan requirements. If my current, tired old wallet got sufficiently ragged, I would of course get the most convenient replacement, but until that time I have the luxury of being able to allow serendipity to present something close to ideal.

I spent two months searching for the ideal laptop bag, which wasn't really a laptop bag at all, but a plain, simplistic messenger satchel with a couple of internal pockets - just right for a mouse and an iPad mini, a power supply and a handful of travelling necessities (or neatly folded clothes). I have since been able to spend weekends staying with friends with only this one bag.

I'm pretty sure my other half thinks I'm a little bit crazy, and I get some very strange looks when I'm talking about losing things that I no longer have a need for but they're "still useful". The looks I get when I mention I'm looking for a particular item and haven't been able to find one, when Google readily turns up a thousand examples, are often even stranger.