A novel life

How often have you bought, or been bought something out of novelty?

I was at a house-warming a few months ago and I admired my friend’s mini-bar, equipped with spirits, glasses and utensils. I remarked how I would love to have one in my own place.

Afterwards, once I’d thought about it some more it didn’t seem worth it to me. To go to the effort and expense of buying the necessary spirits, bitters, mixers, different size glasses and whatever other equipment I may need to make it worthwhile. I would surely enjoy it to begin with but the more I thought about it, I realise the novelty would wear off very soon.

The industrial revolution made many things more affordable for people because they scale economically. Most of our electronics or cars are only so cheap because of the huge scale in which they are made.

Yet, we should take pause to consider whether something actually brings us value rather than buying something because it seems cheap for what it could offer you.

I absolutely love to cook and lust over new recipes and kitchen gadgets but have to restrain myself to simple cooking at home. (Simple does not mean boring though as I find a few good herbs or spices is all it can take to make a dish zing!)

Also, I used to own a surfboard which I used maybe 5 times, but I clearly didn’t use it enough for it to be worth my while. It would be far better for me to rent one, as and when I want to use it.

Some things are only worth investing in if they scale economically in your life.

The question is, how big are you willing to go?

It’s okay to own a cocktail shaker, a surfboard, a waffle iron as long as you’re willing to go big on them. To use them regularly rather than as a novelty.

The great thing about our society is that I can still experience these intricate tastes and experiences through a cocktail bar, rental or a restaurant. True I may pay a premium on what it would probably cost me to make at home but not when you account for the initial investment.

Rather than invest in a life built on novelty, invest it in what’s meaningful to you everyday.


Clearwing says:

I think society is starting to move towards renting over buying, which is helpful for making what you suggest a real option. I know renting formalwear has always been possible, but more casual clothes rental websites have been popping up.

A neighbor once saw me gardening and offered to lend me any tool I needed. We've borrowed our friend's carpet cleaner as well. Now that we try to think of non-purchasing solutions first, borrowing, sharing or renting is almost always the way to go.

Thomas says:

I couldn't agree more. The Minimalists have a great way of putting it too – moving from a society of ownership to a society of access (http://www.theminimalists.com/access/)

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