The Last Viridian Note

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Bruce Sterling's Viridian design movement came to its scheduled end last year. His last Viridian note is greatly in line with my idea of frugality.

Sell - even give away- anything you never use. Fancy ball gowns, tuxedos, beautiful shoes wrapped in bubblepak that you never wear, useless Christmas gifts from well-meaning relatives, junk that you inherited. Sell that stuff. Take the money, get a real bed. Get radically improved everyday things. [...]

Now to confront the possessions you already have. [...] "Everything else" will be by far the largest category. Anything you have not touched, or seen, or thought about in a year - this very likely belongs in "everything else." [...]

Remove them from your time and space. "Everything else" should not be in your immediate environment, sucking up your energy and reducing your opportunities. It should become a fond memory, or become reduced to data.

It may belong to you, but it does not belong with you. You weren't born with it. You won't be buried with it. It needs to be out of the space-time vicinity. You are not its archivist or quartermaster. Stop serving that unpaid role.

Are you the unpaid curator of your stuff? Are the readily-accessible drawers and shelves in your home filled with things you don't actually use (while you fumble and search for the things you do)? Are you making do with sub-par everyday things that create daily annoyance?

Frugality is about appropriate spending, not about not spending. Don't skimp on the truly important tools. Sometimes the right thing, the right fix, the right piece of furniture really can make you happier.

Meanwhile, the wrong things (or even the right things in the wrong places) are clutter, and that'll make you unhappier. If a thing is taking up valuable space and isn't doing you any good, then it's doing you bad. Remove it.

We'll be talking much more about both of these.

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