Frugality vs Minimalism

Ever since I can remember I’ve been a frugal person. I’ve always saved and have really hated to waste money. Even when I actually need to buy something, sometimes I have to go shopping multiple times until I can finally be in the mood to spend money. Although my habits of frugality have changed over time, I’ve always been frugal.

As I think about it, I’ve also been somewhat of a minimalist most of my life. Probably not to the same extent that I’ve embraced it recently, but because of my frugality I’ve never been one to pursue the accumulation of possessions. Now, in theory, most minimalists tend to embrace frugality, however, there is an area where I’ve felt the two concepts seem to clash: the just-in-case syndrome.

Being frugal, I often have fallen into this line of thinking by keeping possessions just in case I might need them at some future day. I tell myself that it will be cheaper to have that bag of golf clubs, pair of skis, or other item that I never use because I’ll be able to save on rental fees if I have the equipment. Now, while that line of reasoning is very sound, what I’ve come to find is that the instances that those items actually get used is very rare.

I used to golf quite a bit in high school because I lived in Tucson, and the city has this program where youth under the age of 18 can golf for free at the city-owned courses. So, I acquired some golf equipment at that time of my life and have held onto it ever since. Once I had to start paying for golf, do you know how many times I went? I honestly think I’ve been golfing two or three times since I’ve been home from my mission, and one of those was while I was on vacation so I didn’t even bring my clubs.

Now, while it’s true I may have saved the rental fees those few times I needed clubs, think of all the time and energy I spent hauling these clubs around(I moved a lot in college). Also, I felt guilty occasionally whenever I’d see those clubs and tell myself I should go more often. Well, I won’t have to haul them around anymore as I finally sold my clubs yesterday.

I’ve experienced this same thing with many other possessions. That pair of shoes that I keep just in case I paint someone’s house. Buying a set of skis so I don’t have to rent, but then only going skiing once a year. That pair of snow pants in the back of my closet that I keep even though I live in the desert and I’m not into winter sports.

Well, I’ve been spending a good portion of my time this week trying to get rid of all of those possessions that I rarely use. I’ve been amazed at how difficult it has been to get rid of these things. It has been quite the emotionally draining experience. For some reason we tend to make emotional attachments to our possessions and it’s not easy getting rid of them.

Although it has been very difficult, I’m finally nearing completion of my purge. In fact, I now can almost fit everything I own into the trunk of my Toyota Corolla. Yes, just the trunk. I’m not home free yet, but I’m so excited for the liberating feeling I’ll get when all is said and down.

So, although I’ve had to battle my frugal side that wants to keep things just-in-case I need them, I’ve decided to give the minimalist approach the old college try. I’ll let you know how it goes, but I’m feeling pretty good right about now knowing how much more freedom, time, and energy my lack of possessions will give me.

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