Friday, October 16, 2015

5 Reasons You Will Eventually Own Nothing

This isn't an infomercial for minimalism so much as it is a look at society's relationship with possessions. We are increasingly becoming a transient society with a loose grip on what we own. Here are 5 reasons why you will eventually own nothing.

1. Technology moves too fast. 

Technology is changing so fast that it becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the latest trends. Most technology is obsolete within a narrow window of two to three years, and that gap is ever increasing. Just think about all of the accessories you purchased for your iphone 4, or all of the games for your wii console, or your year old laptop that doesn't have touchscreen technology to enhance Windows 8.1.

So why buy, when you can rent? To keep up in the business world, you have to be on top of the game. Can I even say that it's inappropriate not to have a modern smartphone or a new operating system on your computer?

You already sort of rent your smartphone from your provider. You fork down an upfront amount, then pay if off every month until your contract is up. You think you own it , but if you try to back out of your contract too soon, do you really own it? No, you pay for the rest of the cost of the phone or turn it back in.

Flickr/CC-BY-2.0/ O Palsson
2. We are a transient society. 

Gone are the days when your great great grandparents built a house on acreage and past it down through the generations. Natural disasters, job opportunities, housing prices, and recreational activities have made this generational more transient than the ones before it.

Cheap furniture warehouses like Ikea, and used goods sites like free cycle and Craig's List, have made it easier than ever to sell your household items and cheaply furnish an apartment at your new destination.

At the rate professionals are migrating around the country looking for favorable job markets, furnished apartments are become popular. Anywhere outside of the US, this is almost expected.

Most young people are staying single until their late 20's or early 30's, with extremely transient roommates. One arrives with a couch, while the other leaves with the microwave.  Young adults are constantly furnishing and re-furnishing their apartments as waves of roommates enter their lives.

Buying a $100 couch at a thrift store, then selling it for $100 on Craig's List is practically a rental program, right?

Flickr/CC-BY-SA-2.0/Chris Isherwood
3. You have to factor is the cost, space, and time. 

Every item you buy costs you money, space, and time. In a society where hobbies are taken as seriously as professions, and everyone is a player of them all and a master of none, it is nearly impossible to own full setups of gear for your favorite hobbies.

Sports cars, dive gear, camera equipment, parachutes, sewing machines, and your rock climbing rack all take up a tremendous amount of space on your property.

The thing is, is that products are cheap, so a high quality scuba setup for your annual trip to Hawaii may not cause you to sweat in the checkout line, but it will cost in terms of upkeep, space, and your time. The gear will need about $100-200 invested into it each year for maintenance, as well as the time spend taking it to a qualified dive shop and a picking it up several days or weeks later. When you rent, there is no time wasted, you only pay a low rental fee, you have space in your garage, and if you rent it onsite, you don't have to lug wet dirty gear home with you on the airplane or in your car. Renting doesn't sound so bad now, does it?

4. Entrepreneurs are creating renting businesses. 

With companies like Uber and Zipcar, owning a vehicle isn't a necessity but a luxury. Take into account that you may use your car, on average, only an hour a day. Then, for the other 23 hours it sits there rusting and unoccupied. Enter in the car sharing model: wouldn't it be cheaper to share a car instead of everyone owning their own?

In the last few years I have seen everything from sowing machines to lawn mowers being put on the rental market. From neighbors lending neighbors to tool libraries to online trading organizations, your choices of rental products is daily increasing.
Personal Document Scanner

5. Data storage is the way of the world. 

DVD's, snail mail bills, hardcover books, paper newspapers, CD's, and filing cabinets are on their way out in the same way that record players and floppy disks have exited the scene.

Want to go paperless? Try a Personal Scanner to input all of your documents into your computer for easy organization.

Seriously, when was the last time you read a one made out of paper?

There you have it, 5 reasons why you will eventually own nothing. Minimalism isn't just a trendy way of life, but is increasingly becoming the mainstream because of the five reasons above. Happy minimizing.

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