01 August 2016 | 3 mins

One of the unexpected joys of minimalism is that I no longer own anything that isn’t my favourite. After getting rid of the excess, the duplicates, the lower value versions of all of my possessions, I was left with (in my opinion) the best of everything. It’s easier to enjoy things when they’re your favourite.

Take, for example, my footwear. Now, I have more footwear than most hardcore minimalists would call acceptable, but each and every pair has a unique and specific purpose. I own one pair of smart shoes. These are my favourite pair of smart shoes; before becoming minimalist, I had three or four pairs, at least two of which I wore less than once a year. I don’t miss them. I own one pair of boots that I wear almost daily: my favourite of all my footwear. I own one pair of running shoes (for running, naturally, but I also wear them to the gym), and one pair of football boots (I’ll let you guess what they’re for). Finally, I own one pair of trainers for walking the dog, wandering about, and travelling (they are the most comfortable trainers I’ve ever owned).

That is five pairs of footwear, total. Smart shoes, boots, trainers, running shoes, football boots. None of them are interchangeable with any of the others, they each have a specific use. If I bought another pair of trainers, that would be one pair too many. Does this mean I won’t ever buy new trainers? No, but it means I’ll think long and hard about whether the new trainers are better than my existing ones. Will they be my new favourites? If not, then I don’t need them, because I’ll always choose my favourites over the others. Extras are not a requirement.

If I did think I’d found a new favourite pair, then great! I can donate or discard my existing pair, as they’re now surplus to requirements. Why would I ever put them on if I have another pair that I like more? For me, this is minimalism at it’s core. It’s not about owning as few things as possible, it’s about owning only what is required. Which, as it happens to be for me, is five pairs of footwear.

This “rule” applies across the board (except for my Hard Rock Café t-shirts). Do I need another pair of jeans? Will I wear them more than my current favourite pairs (I own two pairs of jeans, so I can wear them while one is in the wash)? If yes, great, they can replace an existing pair. If not, well, I don’t need them. They won’t get used and will just take up space, both physically and mentally, as they’d be one more piece of clutter in my home and in my mind.

This post was inspired in part by The Minimalists’ post, When Everything Is Your Favourite Thing.

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