Minimalism: How technology allows living with less

Posted on by Mike Evans

For years I've been using technology to achieve minimalist living. First off, my CD and record collection was digitised and I now rely entirely on iTunes for new stuff. The CDs, along with all my DVDs and ancient video cassettes (yes, even the odd Betamax) have been consigned to the loft (just in case) en route to the dump. Photographs have long since been pruned and, where necessary, scanned; and all those souvenir bits of paper and certificates are also scanned or copied. Then, three years ago, I bought a Fujitsu ScanScap and all my past records have been digitised and discarded. Now, all mail that comes across my doormat is immediately scanned and, where possible, shredded. Only legal documents and contracts remain intact.

Then came eBooks and I now no longer have need of a library. I'm gradually selling or dumping all my once-treasured volumes, especially the reference books which are now totally redundant. If I suddenly get the urge to reread The Old Curiosity Shop or Plato's Republic I can download it (for free) in seconds. 

Space in my home that I once thought of as exclusively "library" or "study" have been miraculously liberated and I find myself rattling around in more square-footage than strictly necessary. It's an oddly satisfying and cathartic experience, I can tell you.

MediumYet while this minimalism may sound a bit oddball, it is growing in popularity. According to a BBC story today, it is becoming a new cult. And it's guru is one Kelly Sutton, "a spiky-haired 22-year-old software engineer with thick-rimmed glasses and an empty apartment in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighbourhood - a hotbed for New York's young, early adopters of new technology." Kelly's website,, is a masterpiece of minimalism itself. Apart from a total list of his possessions, commendably short, there is just one featured item - the blue chair (description: the blue chair is blue) - and I'm reproducing it here. I'm sure he won't mind just a little bit of duplication.

I thoroughly agree with Mr. Sutton's philosophy and I'm encouraged to find he doesn't take things too far by advocating sitting on the floor.  In fact, I'm so fired up by all this that I've added a new category to the blog and will explore ways of achieving the minimalist life.

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