Here's an interesting experiment which flips conventional wisdom on its head. The next time something you own breaks, runs out or gets lost, try not fixing or replacing it.
Decide on an arbitrary time span (a week, a month, whatever) and go without it for that period.
Take a step back. See what happens without it.
This is not what most people do. In our society, it is considered sacrilegious to not endlessly top-up our possessions. You have to go shopping every weekend, refresh your wardrobe every season, crave gifts every holiday. God forbid that you go without some 'essential' for a few days. That's why we have next day delivery, 24-hour stores and automatic orders. Fail to do this and you must be going through financial problems, suffering from a psychiatric disorder or 'letting yourself go.'
That concept rubs me the wrong way, so I do the opposite. It produces some interesting results and is a good way to challenge ingrained paradigms. It forces me to question things, to step outside of my comfort zone and redefine the concept of need. As you might guess, most of the time I end up not wanting to replace it.
For example, a few weeks ago, the headphone jack on my phone broke. Not a huge deal, except that I was used to listening to podcasts for 6+ hours a day - on walks, at the gym, whilst working, as I fell asleep. It felt good to fill every little crevice in the day with learning. In this situation, I guess most people would have brought a new phone or at least had it fixed. But I didn't. The rest of the phone worked fine after all.
For a while, it felt uncomfortable. I would reach for my phone, plug in the headphones and then remember it was broken. Before long, I stopped missing the constant noise in my ears.
The silence throughout my day has become welcome. I read more instead, using books to fill the empty time. It adds up to 2 extra library books each week which feels much more meaningful. A lot of the time, I am forced to listen to my own thoughts. This means more ideas, more introspection and more desire to be around other people.
Even if you do decide to refill the gap in your life, the experience is still valuable. It has been an instrumental part of me finding an abundance mindset.
Let's be honest. We all take countless things for granted every day. It would drive us mad if we tried to appreciate the stuff we use every day. In the least airy-fairy way possible, doing this is a good way to inject a bit more gratitude into your life.
I find this powerful because it is a way of incorporating minimalism as a conceptual perspective into everyday life. This is different to make an effort to declutter - it a form of organic evolution which happens naturally over time. Through continual revision and reflection, you will end up just owning what you truly need. That's what I am finding as I continue to hone my possessions.
Let's see where it takes me.
Let me know what your thoughts are, or if you have tried this in the comments.
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P.P.S. As it seems to be necessary for me to add a disclaimer to every post so people don't get annoyed, I will say this; obviously this concept does not apply to all items. Also, the practise of fixing broken items rather than replacing them is always a good one to get into.