Adulting, Books, Mindfulness, Minimalism

Borrow Before You Buy

When it comes to minimalism there seems to be many variants of the popular less is more philosophy. It’s one of the wonderful things about it, it’s such a flexible ideology that it can apply to anyone.

There are also many resources available to guide you on your minimalism journey, with what can sometimes feel like an overwhelming amount of advice. Having read my fair share of books on minimalism, I’ve come across many techniques to assist me in maintaining my minimalist lifestyle. I want to share one with you today that I find to be particularly useful.

The technique is called: Borrow before you buy. This can essentially be boiled down to a try before you buy philosophy.

A big part of minimalism is figuring out what brings you joy and thereby brings value to your life. It involves setting priorities in terms of where you spend your time, energy and money. But for many people, myself included, this presents a dilemma. How do I know what will bring joy or value to my life? How do I figure out what my priorities are without investing in the clutter often associated with them?

The trick is to borrow the item instead of purchasing it.

Whether you’ve decided to take up woodwork, playing guitar or have simply heard great things about a new book… See if you can borrow that item before investing in it.

After borrowing a friends old guitar for a few weeks you may find you really aren’t that musically inclined, or after borrowing that literary classic from the library you may admit that it is a highly over-rated read. The point is you are free from the commitment of owning that item. Or any feelings of regret at purchasing it. You can just return it to your friend or the library and be done with it.

Another version of this try before you buy, is rent before you buy. Want to start a DIY project but don’t have the power tools to do it? Well if asking a friend or neighbour isn’t an option, you can always rent the equipment instead. It will be more cost effective in the majority of cases, and if you find your dream hasn’t quite translated into reality you are not burdened with the task of selling or storing the unwanted items.

For me the borrow before you buy technique has been really helpful in turning what could typically be referred to as consumption into experience. When I borrow a DVD from the library for example, I have a limited amount of time to watch it. This means that I have to make time to watch it. It becomes an experience instead of just a way to pass time.

When I decided to try boxing classes, I asked a friend if I could tag along to one of her classes. Not only did I get to try the class for free under their bring a friend along free program, but I was able to borrow her spare set of wraps and rent out the gloves from the boxing studio. It was a great experience with zero up front commitment.

While this may not apply to everything, you would be surprised how many things you can borrow or rent. It’s definitely worth a try.

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