Thursday, January 15, 2015

You Have Too Much Stuff

book cover: You Have Too Much Shit - a self-help book by Chris Thomas

If you don’t mind a bit of obscenity, and you want a quick read to inspire your decluttering, this might be the book for you. It only has 16 pages of content, in large type; you can read it in 10 minutes or so. And the ebook version is free!

Chris Thomas, a designer, doesn’t provide any gentle handholding here. Rather, this is more of a manifesto for those who own lots of stuff: identify the useless things and get rid of them. And, most importantly, stop buying the kinds of stuff you wind up tossing.

The book starts with a list of things you probably don’t need, including
  • Free pens, mouse mats and mugs.
  • Your hidden stash of takeaway menus.
  • Unwanted Christmas presents that have hung around too long.
  • Your plethora of novelty electronics.
  • Boxes full of photographs that you, be honest, will never look at again.
  • Rolled up posters hidden from view.
  • Obsolete gizmos you keep lying around in case they’re ever worth something.
  • Chargers and cables for obsolete gizmos you keep lying around in case they’re ever worth something.
  • DIY materials, bought for an unfinished project several years ago.
Chris then goes on to write about the negative effects of keeping all this stuff around and the advantages of getting rid of it. He also writes about the environmental impact of all our purchases:
The amount of stuff we consume as a species is insane. ... The environmental case is worthy of a whole other book, but I’ll put it simply: the earth’s finite resources are, well, finite – and if we continue to consume at our current rate, it won’t be long before they’re gone.
Chris says to spend our money on the stuff that really matters to us:
To find real value in material things, it’s helpful to discover a deep appreciation of the things you use every day.

Everyday things are the things that you use the most, so they’re the things truly worth investing in. Have hard-wearing shoes, comfortable chairs, knives and forks that won’t bend or rust. Have a computer that won’t crash or lose your work. Invest in your hobbies. Whatever it is you spend most of your time doing, have things that assist in making this better, all of the time.
He concludes with a list of the many ways to get rid of things, including selling them or just giving them to people who need them:
People with less than you. Charities who need the money. Schools. Libraries. People who need materials for experiments or making things.
There's nothing new in this book — nothing you can’t read plenty of other places. But sometimes the way a person words a familiar concept makes it resonate in a way it didn’t resonate before.

[via Sam Dunne on Core77]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome book, even with the swearing. Maybe because of it? He certainly cuts right to the heart of the subject, no gentle approach, no intricate plans.

Except for the musical instrument leaning on the wall (never had one) and the crap paperbacks (left the house long ago), I went down the list thinking "ouch! yes, have that, that, that....."