I have a problem. No, I don’t have a drinking problem. Mine is different actually. I want to be a minimalist and a DIY (do it yourself) guy. Generally that shouldn’t be a problem right? But for me it is. You see, if I want to build things myself I need a bunch of tools. Tools means stuff and more stuff goes against minimalism. Why do I bring this up? Well recently I concluded the series with some of the tools that I own. But I want ever more tools. In that sense I am not a true minimalist then? I have seen people who don’t even own a car and travel by walking, scooter, and public transport. However, they own a lot of tools, which gives me some consolation.
When you want to do things yourself then it goes against the principles of minimalism because minimalism means possessing as few things as possible. On the other hand, DIY requires you to have lots of tools. Take for instance you want to stitch something then you need a sewing machine. If you want to fix something you need all the tools like a screwdriver, spanner, drilling set etc. If you want to build something you may need the masonry tools or carpenter tools and so on. How about car up keep. Well you need car wax, microfiber cloths, shampoo and so on.
If minimalism wasn’t a thing, I’d like to own a lathe and mill, CNC lathe and mill, 3D printer a proper desktop machine with 3 monitors and I can go on. I still haven’t even scratched the surface of the tools that I’d like to own. Already I can see that I need a bigger house. But why the minimalism constraint? Well, because the more you own, the more time and money you will need for their repairs, upkeep and replacement. Just imagine how many repairs are possible with a milling machine. The tools wear out which need replacement, you need cooling fluids. Motors can fail. Need to invest in safety equipment etc. You may eventually be doing DIY repairs on the tools that are supposed to help you with your DIY projects :).
Just in this year I had so many repairs all because I have too much stuff at home. A couple of bathrooms had some water leaking problems. It was a massive undertaking to break the tiles, remove and insert new pipes and putting new tiles. I can’t to such major repairs even if I had all the tools. It needs experience and skill. Then kitchen sink had a water leakage problem and that was another major repair. Then the water tank on the roof had a leaking pipe and that needed replacement. Then there is the staircase headroom which had a leaky roof so we had to get that chipped and redo the slab. What is with this water leakage problems? Seems like the house is showing its age. None of these I could fix.
Not just the house, but the things that fill the house have also started to show problems. For example the microwave’s motor stopped working and that needed a repair. And don’t even get me started on electronics. Mrs. re-ynd’s laptop went bust. She has been using it since 2016 and it is a very light weight and expensive laptop. It initially started having some display issues and later stopped working completely. Then my previous laptop’s battery stopped charging. An android tablet stopped working after a battery went bust. My old TV stopped working which thankfully I was able to fix. I can keep going on and on.
And to think, all this happened just in one year – 2022. Think about how many repairs happen every year. The reason is because we have so many possessions. So I need to reduce stuff and yet I want to buy more tools. That is my problem :). For those who are already confused if they should go the minimalist route or the DIY route, feel comforted that you can do both without violating either principle.
The point about minimalism is not that you should not own or buy anything at all. It just means that you only have the very basic things that you will use quite often and they are improving your life. I could buy a 3D printer but given the projects that I am working on, I will certainly not use it regularly. I might build a thing or two and then it will lie there for a long time. So if I can really find a purpose for it to use more frequently I would go buy it. Likewise, I could buy a nice colorful lava lamp and use it every day, but if it is not improving my life, there is no point keeping or buying it in the first place. All the tools I bought recently and still have in my possession are like that. There is no problem really, except for the artificial problem I created for myself :).