Thursday, July 12, 2018

Minimalism and YouTube

With our last move we've decided to go unplugged from cable. It's a first for us, and I can't say that I miss it. Not with Netflix, Amazon's Prime Video and YouTube available to us via our Apple TV.

It's a huge cost saving for us not having that ginormous bill each month for something we rarely watched. Though it does mean I'm spending more time checking out YouTube videos and watching apartment tours, anti-hauls, decluttering and minimalism videos.

Which in theory is a great thing. But...

When people start showcasing the things they have, I find myself at times thinking, "Hey, I need that!" or "That would be cool to own." Most times they are things I never would have wanted but for the fact that I saw them on countless videos. Only sometimes they are things that I actually had a need for or would serve a purpose that adds value.

Even watching The Minimalists living room conversations videos makes me covet the bookcase behind Joshua Fields Millburn - a similar bookcase to the two from DWR that I had sold a couple years back because I didn't entirely need them and moving them from place to place was more hassle than benefit.

Before watching minimalism/decluttering/organization videos on YouTube I never wanted baskets in the way that I do now. (I was fine with the plastic bins I had been using for years.) I never wanted a round mug - but have since acquired one and have my eye on another. I never would have purchased an inexpensive faux brass lamp that serves a needed purpose but goes against my commitment to only buying things either of quality, handmade, made locally, or made ethically. (After recycling the box I already wanted to rid myself of this lamp.)

While I have stuck to my guns about not impulse buying things immediately after seeing them on a minimalist-ish video, and I've fought the urge to buy plants (I have a black thumb and kill almost all living greenery and really don't want to make that mistake again), I've still purchased items that I don't have an immediate use for, don't necessarily fit with my decor, are items I will likely purge within the next couple of years - all because I saw them on a YouTube video in someone's well-decorated minimalist apartment, in a minimalist haul, on a minimalist shopping trip, or on an apartment tour suggested by YouTube "because I watched...". And forget about the "wish list" items.

Thanks to YouTube I've purchased...
  • A set of 3 handwoven nesting baskets from Ikea - a store I said I wasn't going to buy from again due to the fact that most of the items are mass produced, even though the baskets supposedly aren't. And while I thought I "needed" one basket to hide my laptop cable when not in use, I certainly have no need of three. And I probably don't even need the one.
  • Four baskets from H&M - a store I never knew had home goods until I watched videos on YouTube. One is actually perfect for what I needed it for. Two I've already given away. And one I am not sure what to do with.
  • A Weck jar from World Market. I'd never heard of this brand before YouTube and never would have stepped foot into one of their stores as I thought it was something else altogether. But I use this jar every single day to store the excess ground coffee - since I never seem to get the quantity right.
  • Two handmade bowls from The Citizenry - an online store I'd never known about that has some great products, beautifully made. Though I already had too many bowls and while beautiful, I never really reached for them, so recently gave them away.
  • The aforementioned "brass" lamp from Article - another store I'd never known about until my YouTube binges. It's so poorly made that the different screw-together sections are different colors, there were metal shavings throughout the box and all over my floor as I was assembling it, the cord feels very cheap, it was mass produced, and doesn't look nearly as lovely as it did in the YouTube video home tour. While I need a reading lamp at the side of my sofa, it will not be this one and I will likely be giving it away very, very soon. I definitely got what I paid for.
  • An assortment of baskets from various stores - because the baskets look so much lovelier than plastic bins - a few from Muji for bathroom supplies and hats; a few from Rejuvenation for kitchen towels, cleaning towels, sailing gear; a few from Hawkins NY by way of Food52 for pantry supplies; a couple from Yamazaki Home via Food52 for pantry supplies; a set of 3 from McGee & Co. for cleaning supplies; one from Design Within Reach for office supplies; and one from The Container Store (en route) for backup hard drives.
  • S'well water bottles - a large and small. Both are used, but I could just as easily have used the other water bottles I have for sailing.
  • Chemex coffee pot and hario burr grinder. I'd always liked the idea of the Chemex brewer - since I first saw it over a decade ago at Crate & Barrel. But it wasn't until I saw a number of videos on YouTube about how good it was (taking the acid out of the coffee) that I caved. And of course I had to grind the beans fresh to get the best experience - though I drew the line and did not purchase the recommended scale. Granted, this is a purchase I use every day, and get great value from - as the coffee is so much less acidic than it was from my French press. But still... I had been somewhat satisfied with that machine for years.
  • Slim hangers/black wire hangers/wood hangers/cedar hangers - I'd been using my plastic hangers of various colors for years. But after seeing how lovely closets looked with slim hangers (though I didn't opt for velvet ones) I wanted my closet to look just as lovely. So I swapped them out. And while all these hangers do make my closets look so much nicer, I didn't know I wanted nicer hangers until I saw these lovely closets on YouTube.
Most of these are small items that don't cost very much, but they are items that aren't absolute necessities. Even though I did want to move away from plastic storage solutions where possible. And even though I needed to buy a new part for my French press. But nothing purchased was mandatory, at least not right now.

But it's my "wish list" items that have grown exponentially thanks to YouTube. And even though I go through and purge the wish lists from time to time especially after the impulse to buy leaves, I still have too many things I now wish for.

A few of which are...
  • The Polanco concrete side table from The Citizenry - a perfect patio side table, as we don't have one right now and we really do need something to make it a functional space - putting drinks and computers on the concrete floor is not ideal.
  • A small mug and a small bowl in the "painted poppies" line from Anthropolgie - a store I had stopped buying home decor from years ago as I wanted things that were less ornate/kitschy/mass-produced. They are so adorable, but I definitely do not need another bowl, and I have more than enough mugs.
  • Norwex microfiber cleaning cloths - because they're supposedly the best and I'm forever looking for great cleaning solutions.
  • Artwork for the guest bath - because it just looks so forlorn and every minimalist home/apartment tour I've watched doesn't have neglected looking spaces.
  • A selection of area rugs from Home Depot - because the rugs I have now in our office just look bad.
  • Baskets and a bath stool from McGee & Co. to contain things I don't even have.
  • Baskets and Artwork from West Elm - a store I also opted to stop shopping at years ago due to the not great quality of the items I'd had.
  • Mugs from ABC Home - because I need more mugs. Not.
  • Baskets from Structube - a store that had some interesting things - because I need more baskets. Not.
  • Frames from Framebridge - because I might want to include a few framed pictures on my new bookshelf.
Ugh. I think I need to reassess what I watch, or how I watch. Because I'm worried that one day I'll find myself in Target looking for the light-up @ or # decor items in clearance.

To be continued...

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