Tag: Minimalism

My Thinking On Various Topics

Getting Rid of A Collection

I’ve had a number of collections over the years: baseball cards, action figures, Beanie Babies. Call me a child of the 80’s – everything was a collectors item back then. The one I’m most known for, however, is a Pez collection that was nearing 500 pieces in its prime. As an aspiring minimalist, I have been coming to terms with that collection over the past few years. It isn’t going to be able to be a big part of my life anymore. But at the same time, it isn’t easy to get rid of something I’ve invested time and energy into for over 20 years. Here are some tips I picked up on how to get rid of a collection in the least jarring way. Some I’ve learned from past collections that were easier to part with, and some I’m learning now. If you have come to the place where you are


How The Kroleski Family Does Toys – Our Rotation Process

Being the aspiring minimalists we are, my wife and I brought our first child home to our small apartment that had very few baby toys in it – everything fit in/on a toy box that sat on our bay window seat. Over the three years that followed, despite our best intentions, our house has accumulated many more toys. Though they are individually great – the trouble with toys, as is the trouble with most things, is that their value does not scale linearly. More toys does not equal more fun or more learning. There are diminishing returns. Eventually even negative returns where more toys results only in more mess, stress and frustration. A knee-jerk reaction might be to get rid of most everything – to go full minimalist. While that reaction will provide some benefits, we feel it would be throwing the baby out with the bath water. We are attempting to get the best of both worlds via a

My Thinking On Various Topics

S.T.O.K.E.D. – Six Minimalism Tips

A few months ago I gave a presentation on minimalism as part of my company’s ‘Hearsay Talks’ series. I wanted to share the general themes here in written format. My apology for minimalism is this: It is not about less of something. It is about more of something else. You give up things so that you have more room for something else. We each only have 168 hours in the week – our lives are finite. If we want more of one thing, the only way to make that possible is by having less of something else. From 2012-2014 I lived in a 400 sq/ft studio apartment with my growing family. Because of the time and money we were saving, we were able to spend much more time pursuing outdoor activities we love – including some of my challenges. That was our way of having less of something (housing space) in order to have

My Thinking On Various Topics

Response: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans

The Atlantic, published a cover piece in May 2016 titled, The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans. The subject was the unstable financial position that many seemingly successful people are in. The article was well written by an author who declares himself a part of the ashamed population he is writing about. As he ruminates on his situation, there was one thing I couldn’t help but notice – even after researching the topic and writing an article on it, he remains blind to the item he can most easily impact. He writes, “The only thing one can do is work more hours to try to compensate. I long since made that adjustment. I work seven days a week, from morning to night. There is no other way.” The above statement bothers me because it is a fallacy that is unfortunately shared by far too many people. The other option is, of course, that you can spend

My Thinking On Various Topics

Thinking Of Our Possessions Less

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” -C.S. Lewis In the same way, our goal should not be to own fewer objects simply for the sake of it. Our goal should be to develop a healthy relationship with the objects in our life – our consumption of them and desires for them. Our goal should be to reach a state where we think about them less, thus allowing us to think more about other topics.


Life in a Studio Apartment with my Wife and Two Sons

Between July 2011 and August 2015 I lived in a ~400sqft studio apartment in San Francisco. I moved in a bachelor but by the time I moved out, I was one member of a four person family. Here are some things I learned along the way. Lesson 1) Rent control has strange side effects San Francisco has a rent control policy that prohibits most landlords from raising rent more than ~1% per year. The goal is to help fight against families getting displaced. When my wife and I got married and she moved in, we considered moving. Our budget had increased some, but our purchasing power had dropped. We could change neighborhoods, but we’d be sacrificing in apartment quality. We decided to stay. A year and a half later, we welcomed our first son into the world. At that point rent in the city had risen by over 50%. We were dropping to one income so my wife could be

My Thinking On Various Topics

Selling Everything I Own

Lately I’ve been exploring a philosophy where I consider everything I own as being for sale at any given time. At a high price, that is probably true for all of us. But at a reasonable price it should be too. I’ve begun to distance myself from things – valuing them for the purpose they serve in the present rather than some tie to the past or (unrealistic) hope for the future. As my interests shift, my true value of an item does too and eventually it gets below market rate. The thought of selling items I might want later was a barrier at first, but I’ve chipped away at it as I’ve realized how easy it is to acquire a near exact item later if need be. With this philosophy I am able to float through life more freely – less tied down by material weight. I am able to live more in the moment, owning

My Thinking On Various Topics

The Best Use of Money

The idea that spending money to buy experiences rather than ‘stuff’ has been gaining mainstream momentum in America. People are realizing that there is more marginal benefit to their happiness when they allocate their dollars towards experiences (travel, entertainment, classes, adventures, etc.) rather than material goods. This is of course because most of us (certainly those I see sharing the above opinions) have surpassed the basic material needs of food & shelter. The physical goods purchased after that point have diminishing returns – at a certain point the clutter may even cause new purchases to create negative returns. I’ve been thinking on the topic of allocating money towards happiness and wanted to share my thoughts. I agree fully that experiences are a better use of money than stuff – but I see these as the first two steps of a spectrum. A spectrum that I have been able to track a bit further, though I’m not certain


Experiment: I’m Ditching My Desk – Results

This post is the conclusion to an experiment about having no desk at work. After a month of not having a permanent desk I want to reflect on the experiment. Here is how my hypothesis stacked up. Analysis & Conclusions Hypothesis One: I will have less drop-ins I was able to get enough data on this to prove my pointIn total I sat in 12 different places during the 23 working days of the experiment. Of those places, the most common was a couch in the corner of the office that I sat at on seven different days. My average daily drop-ins was 0.78. However, when I started to develop a favorite, people began to know where to find me and the drop-in rate climbed to 1.43. Graphically, here are we can see the number of days I had each count of drop-ins. The highest counts were only achieved on

My Thinking On Various Topics

The Five Schools of Minimalism

I’ve been reading a lot of minimalist inspired writing this year. I fancy myself an aspiring minimalist and recovering consumer. I enjoy hearing different perspectives and can usually find nuggets that I can apply to my own developing minimalist philosophy. As I’ve been reading, I’ve noticed that although there are many common minimalist principles there are a few distinct differences in the philosophies. I have begun to classify them in my mind as five different schools of minimalism. The Five Schools of Minimalism Each of the schools is driven by a root motivation that the philosophy places ultimate importance on. These five motivations are the following: saving money, protecting the environment, freeing oneself from oppression, living conveniently through simplicity, and sacrificing for others. Before I describe the schools, I would like to caveat what I mean by minimalism. In general I am referring to those that are consciously and explicitly