Minimalism and Tech2018-12-28T03:01:40+00:00

Minimalism and Tech

How do you apply minimalism to technology?

Marketing does a great job at making you think you need the newest technology.
However, what you have probably does everything you need already.

What I did:
Got rid of
all these

TV
Desktop computer
Game consoles and Handheld consoles
All CDs, DVDs
Most Books
Physical games
Tons of cables
Tons of remotes and controllers
The entertainment center
Standalone GPS
Camera
Alarm Clock

Replaced them
all with a
Gaming Laptop &
Smartphone

My Tech Story

I get all my content digitally now, primarily through Amazon Prime, Steam, Twitter, and Youtube. I can learn, read, watch, listen, play, record, share, and design all with a laptop. I have GPS, music, camera, alarm clock and flashlight on the smartphone. I’ve considered getting is a projector for five years, to watch movies, but haven’t gotten one yet. You can always wait on tech, it’ll only get cheaper.

Minimalism and Tech isn’t the same for everyone, so a laptop and smartphone might not work for you. Start by thinking what functionality you want from your technology. You might realize the tech you have already does what you want, so no need to get anything else. Do you host guests and want a projector or TV? Do you travel a lot and want a smartphone with GPS? Are you a hardcore gamer and want a Gaming PC or teh next gen console? That’s all up to you.

Tech takes your space and money. I talked earlier about filling your life with your priorities or What to Add. If you don’t know what’s important to you then it’ll only be harder to figure out what tech you’d want and need to enhance your life.

How excited were you when you bought your new _____?

Here’s another way to think about it. We’ll use a smartphone for example. How excited were you last time you upgraded your phone? You were likely excited before you bought it. You likely were excited for a little bit after you got it. But then you might have been frustrated transferring all your account to the new phone, logging in to everything all over again. You might have been annoyed that you’re now stuck in a new two-year contract. You might have gotten frustrated to learn how it works. You might have gotten frustrated making it look the same as your last phone. Wait, why are you making it look like your last phone? I thought you were upgrading to make it better. More importantly you likely lost that excitement a few weeks after you got it. Did you even use the new features? Were the few minor features or upgrades worth the extra $$$? If you look back you’ll probably realize that most upgrades weren’t worth it or you could have waited a bit longer and saved some money.

Like I said before, I’ve been considering a projector for five years. However, I’ve been doing fine without it. I’m not missing out. I’ve still enjoyed movies. I’ve still had movie nights with friends. No need to have a projector. It’s just a want. Marketing will tell you these changes in features are needed, when in reality it’s simply a nice feeling for a short period of time.

When to upgrade?

Marketing will tell you you always need the newest phone, but the truth is you don’t. You’ve already lived all your life without that new phone, console, or feature, so you really don’t need them. Unless your phone is broke there is almost no point in upgrade. Look at what you’re using your phone for now. Is it only slow because it’s full of programs you don’t use anymore? Does it do everything you need it to do? You might need to just clean it out, to make it run better, and there’s no need to upgrade.

Phone service for cheap

I should mention that I only pay $35 a month for unlimited talk, text, and web on my phone. I signed up with an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). Unlike high speed internet providers where there many 1-3 of them in your area, for phone service there are many companies competing for your business. It’s not just AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-mobile. With added competition, you save. Just find a plan you like that fits your needs. You’ll find that you can typically halve your monthly phone bill and still have the same service and network.

I Need the Best Tech

Your Tech priorities may be completely different than mine. You may want to keep up to date to run games on highest setting or need to extra power to do high end graphic and video editing. That’s great. Tech is a high priority for you. But that means there are probably other aspects of your life that aren’t as important. Other aspects you could save time, space, and money on, so you can focus on your tech without breaking the bank. Focus on minimizing those instead of tech to start.

I’ve found that after minimizing other aspects of my life that even in my favorites could be decluttered. When it comes to tech cables, if it’s not USB or HDMI cord it’s probably old, not needed, and can be recycled. I eventually gave in and went all digital with music and movies. Apps like Spotify and Netflix help significantly with that change. Now I no longer spend hours organizing my music, I just search for a band or song and hit play. You may be happy filling a wall with your favorite media; I know at one point in my life I was too. I personally like the freedom to travel, so that’s why I minimized my tech, but your story may be different so do what works for you.

Games

About 10 years ago I decided to get two years out of the loop with video games. It’s the greatest tech decision I’ve ever made. Now every game I buy is cheap, no more $60 games. No more waiting for DLC, incomplete games, or paying more. No more waiting for bugs to get fixed. No more laggy launch servers. No more buying games based on the hype, only to be let down by a crappy game.

Every game I get I know is good, because others have played it and tons of reviews support it. Every game I get is the complete game, such as the game of the year (GOTY) edition, and includes all the DLC, not just part of it. On top of that I got rid of consoles, where games take longer to go on sale. Almost every game I play was from Steam sale and under $20.

You may think that I’ll miss out on some games. That’s true, most console exclusives I probably won’t play, unless a friend says I need to and I play at their house. A few games I ended up watching others play on Twitch or Youtube. Yet with all those limitations, I’ll never run out of good games to play, and my wallet is sitting pretty.

Digital Nostalgia

I’m going to make another post specifically about this, but the basic idea is that most items that have nostalgic or sentimental value I display. Those I don’t display I take pictures of and get rid of the physical item. Everything else fits in a shoebox.

Backups

No matter what technology you use you should always save often and have backups. Any pictures my phone takes it saves them to the cloud. Most Steam games save to the cloud, so no worries about losing progress. I save a bunch of things on google drive. For almost everything else I have an external hard drive, that I update from time to time. Basically everything important is saved in 3 places, laptop, cloud, and external hardrive.
A good rule for Tech Backups is 3-2-1: You should have 3 copies, on 2 formats/devices, with 1 copy offsite.

Summary

The way I use technology is to make it work for me. I don’t need to upgrade a to a new TV, tablet, phone, speakers, along with wall mounts, new cables, or extra devices to connect them all every time something new comes out. Using only digital media I don’t need to buy extra shelving to store movies, music and games. Having a gaming laptop means I can easily pack up and play at a friend’s house. Sticking with only a laptop and smartphone I can even get better versions of them and still save money. That’s why I had a decent gaming laptop*, when I bought it. However, I don’t use the features enough to justify a newer phone*; so I don’t have one.

*Laptop: Acer Aspire VN7-791G i7, 17″ screen, Windows 10, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 960M
*Smartphone: Moto G5

More ideas on what to discard.

TL;DR

I got rid of most technology and only own a gaming laptop and smartphone. Digitized my content, no more physical media, shelving, mounts, and cables to deal with.
More freedom with less cost.