My family is in mourning. Our beloved friend and family member has passed. For the fifth time… What?!
I get paid to tell people to get rid of their stuff. I am considered by most to be a minimalist. But what is “true” minimalism. Merriam Webster defines minimalism with regards to music, literature, art and design. It uses the term “extreme spareness”. That does not sound fun. I think it is time for an update. The Minimalists define minimalism as a tool to achieve whatever your hopes and dreams are. I lean closer to the tool definition. It’s not really about anything that you get rid of. IT IS ALL ABOUT WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO KEEP. In any case, let’s return to death.
My Xbox One died. (Insert crying photo of my family here). I know that to lots of people this is an extraneous electronic and totally the opposite of what a minimalist would own. Our XBOX adds significant value to my family. We have one tv (yep, we own a tv) (yep, we only own one). We don’t have any subscriptions services (no cable, hulu, Netflix, amazon, etc.). We also don’t have a dvd or Blu-ray player.
In the past we have owned many different gaming systems, but after careful deliberation we narrowed it down and now only play the XBOX system and online computer games. And although we do own two computers (I know that is a lot for a minimalist! – but we are a family of 6.) Neither of them have a disc drive. We use our XBOX to watch tv shows, movies, documentaries, and to play games. We use it for fun, education, family time, me time, and sanity for mommy time.
With the amount of use that ours gets, we do buy our systems new, usually from GameStop, and pay extra for the “protection package” in case it breaks. The package lasts for two years. Guess how long ago we bought ours? That’s right two years and one month ago. For all of the game systems we have ever bought the service has only come in handy twice (even my kiddos know what the “red ring of death” is). Usually our systems conveniently die right after the terms end. (Insert conspiracy theory here.)
In my mind, I daydream about the happy families that have no electronics and raise happy, healthy, successful kids that owe it all to the lack of electronics in their homes. This thought crossed my mind when our game system died just a few days ago. I thought maybe we could be that way. Then God was funny. It got cold. REALLY cold. Like the neighbors would call children’s services if I made my kids go outside cold. Everything started getting cancelled. We had a real, loved, human, family member pass away and we needed to participate in the appropriate services. It was depressing in so many ways. (Here is a picture of our cat waiting for things to get better.)
Then the holds started rolling in from the library. My kids request items all the time and I really don’t have time to keep up on what they are requesting. Since we are currently without a way to watch movies we have a growing stack. Here is a snapshot of what people in my house would like to be watching right now – Saving Otter 501, Nature – Ocean Wonders, Sherlock Holmes, The Music Man, Baywatch (Okay that’s me), Dragon Ball Z (My DH), and The Hate U Give. On their own they usually choose things that will enhance their knowledge of what they are currently studying or watch the movies that were made from the books they already read. Who could say “no” to that? (Obviously that isn’t always true for me and my hunny – the picture below is a good representation of our date night.)
So what is a minimalist to do? Realistically balance our needs and wants. Only replace things that add value to your life. Carefully curate every item in your home. As for our family of nerdy gamers. We will probably buy a new XBOX when , as a family, we come up with enough items to sell to GameStop to be able to purchase a new system. This may take a little bit of time and a little bit of suffering (I meant me, listening to my kids whining and my husband listening to me whining). That way we will go through our existing electronics and purge anything unnecessary and (hopefully) appreciate our new purchase even more.
I will let you know how it goes!
Homework for you is to assess the electronics in your home. Are they adding value to your lives or ripping your family apart. Take appropriate (or even drastic) action to make a change for the betterment of your family.
Please share your successes (and failures) below!
The AMAZINGLY SIMPLE way to curate your electronics.