Archive | February, 2013

The True Cost of Ownership

whiteness

Minimalism has taken many forms these days. It’s even become a pop-culture trend. I suspect it is partly related to the economic downturn, a newish need to make more from less. For me, minimalism can be broken down into several parts. Maybe some of this will resonate with you. Some write off minimalism as hippy-foo-foo bullshit. Well, let me appeal to minimalism with reason.

By deciding to bring some new thing into your life, you have to calculate whether the gain will offset the cost. This mental process sounds like a pain in the ass, but most of you already do this when making a purchase. That’s how you decide whether the new pair of pants or coffee table or samurai sword is worth the advertised price.

The problem is that, usually, the only cost in this mental exercise that is weighed against the reward is a monetary one. The cost of owning a physical item does not end at the checkout. It echoes forward in time for the entire duration that it’s in your possession.

Here are some examples of forgotten costs accrued when making a purchase:

  • Time/effort required to get to the store
  • Time/effort required to transport the item to its final location
  • Assembly/Activation/Setup
  • Space cost (assuming it’s not digital, it will take up space)
  • Maintenance/Cleaning
  • Relocation/Removal/Disposal (The item is your responsibility until it’s not)

For instance, say you buy or rent a living space.… Read More

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