No Spares

September 14, 2007

Critical examination of my stuff led to a small revelation about spare things. Spares are extra items that are kept in reserve, that can duplicate the function of similar things that I am using regularly.

A good example of this is “good china” dishware. Some people have a set of good china that they keep stored away, and another set of plates and dishes that they use every day. My minimalist side says to get rid of the everyday stuff and use the good china all the time. If it’s so nice, then USE IT and appreciate it. Dishware is a tool that is meant to be used, even if it’s hand-painted by your grandmother and inlaid with gold leaf. Are you afraid a piece will break? Don’t worry about that – if it breaks then just live with one less teacup or get new china. Wedding china is not a family heirloom – it is only “special” to the married couple who received it. The married couple’s kids will want to get their own. If it’s truly so exquisite and delicate that you can’t risk one scratch, then it is worthy of being displayed as artwork. If you don’t have space to display it, then sell it and use the “everyday china” every day.

The point is that it doesn’t make sense to have two tools that do the same job. Especially if, like me, you are trying to vastly reduce the volume of crap you carry around the earth with you.

I use a rubber filter on the shower drain so that the pipes get clogged up less often. I clean and rinse it after every use, but still it was getting stained after a few years. I also have a brand new one taking up space in my junk drawer. Today I threw away the old one, even though it’s still “usable” and started using the new one. I figure that when it wears out I’ll buy ONE more and replace it. There’s no need to keep a spare filter, especially for a cheap item that can be replaced for a dollar or two. That was a minor victory of course, but I am excited about applying the concept to other spare things I have. I’ll be looking at duplicate copies of shoes, screwdrivers, radios, backpacks, hairbrushes, etc. If I have a spare item that never gets used, I’ll compare it with the similar item I do use to decide which one to keep.

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One Response to “No Spares”


  1. […] doing on other computers so it wasn’t really NEEDED.  Getting rid of it was me putting the NO SPARES philosophy into action.  I let it go for FAR less then it was “worth” to me.  Even […]


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