Right now I am in the midst of removing ‘stuff’ from my life, whether it’s clothes, old letters from the bank and overused pens. All this has to do with my decision to pursue a more minimalist lifestyle, which I thought I kinda did but was dead wrong. Right now I’m trying to do decide upon the physical worth of some things, and it’s actually proving to be quite testing. What price do you put on a hoody from your first year at university? Is it worth keeping all those magazines despite only reading it once in a year? More importantly, do you keep your abundance of sketches on sheets of trace paper?

Reading blogs on minimalism you learn that there isn’t a set definition or a strict ‘how to be a minimalist’ guide. There isn’t a required number of possessions you must own, and there’s even some contradictions in the ideals and principles. Below is a nice explanation of minimalism by Colin Wright, who runs the blog Exile Lifestyle.

What Minimalism is really all about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff – the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities – that don’t bring value to your life.”

A great analogy he used in his post was if My Little Ponies is important to you, and it makes you want to wake up in the morning, you should be investing more into your My Little Ponies collection, not throw it out because it is ‘stuff’ you don’t use or think you need. To translate this idea over to me, at the moment architecture and design is a huge priority at the moment, and as result I tend to have sketchbooks, rolls of trace, pens, markers, spray cans, glue, books, model making material and so on and so fourth. If I was to strip all that down to a single pen and sketchbook, yes it would be minimal but it isn’t exactly helping with my passion. However, owning a djembe and guitar, things which don’t bring a whole lot of value but only kept it around for sentimental reasons, that is what needs to go.

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I started this blog post as a way to think out loud, to question if I need the hoody, the magazines and old sketches on trace paper. Does the hoody fit in with my priorities? I believe it doesn’t, and although there could be a sentimental attachment, in the end it’s a piece of fabric and the memories of my first year at university is embedded elsewhere. Do the magazines fit in with my priorities? It does, except the amount of magazines I have is excessive. I do sometimes use magazines as inspiration, but is there much worth to keep so many, not really.

Finally, do these old sketches on trace paper fit in with my priorities? They do, they represent the thinking I was going through at a particular time for a studio project and those ideas could be useful in the future. However are they worth holding on to? Yes and no, some would be worth holding on to, others can just go into the recycling bin. Keeping every single piece of trace paper seems excessive, especially when some are just layering of plans and it’s actually a few plans old. Those pieces of trace however which represent a moment of realisation, or a new idea or solving a problem, those true ‘aha moments‘ are the ones worth keeping.

I’m interested to hear from you, do you keep all your sketches? Or do you have a system of deciding what to keep and what to remove? What does your magazine pile look like? Leave a comment below.