Hobbies can certainly take a lot of space and for those who are striving for a minimalist lifestyle, which gives more freedom with schedules and time, hobbies that require a lot of stuff seem counter productive.
Most hobbies can be fairly minimal. If we stay with the basics, which, is typically what we start with when we begin that hobby, then it is simply more enjoyable.
The problem comes with a consumeristic mindset: we think we need more, bigger and better. We get hung up on the next best thing, rather than just enjoying something for what it is.
Take golf, for example: To enjoy a game of golf, one simply needs 3 clubs: wood, iron and putter (Maybe even less?). You can walk the course, enjoy the outdoors, work on form and swing. Visit with friends while you play or enjoy some quiet time to yourself. That is really all that is needed to enjoy golf.
Talking with a friend that enjoys sailing, he said he finds most sailing hobbyist will start with a small boat, then purchase bigger and bigger, until they get to the point where they simply have too much, they sell the big boat and go back to the basic small boat and find they enjoy it so much more.
It’s the same with the tiny house movement. Bigger and better doesn’t mean we will enjoy our home more. Rather, when we try to improve on it (I will be happier when…) it becomes a burden to us. Larger homes require more upkeep.
“Bigger and better” cost more, which means we spend more time earning money to pay for it, and we spend less and less time actually doing those things that we are working so hard to enjoy.
Eventually we have so much stuff and our items are so big and overwhelming, we stop spending time doing it.
The majority of hobbies require a minimal amount of supplies to do them. The key is balance. In the same way we have limited what is in our homes, hobbies are more enjoyable when the items we choose to include are minimal.
Remember, the key is balance. All of these activities have a plethora of options available to “add to your experience”, but if you think about the basics, you can enjoy the activity simply for what it is.
Investing in good quality equipment makes the activity more pleasant, so you can enjoy the experience without fighting the equipment.
Hiking. Shoes/boots and weather-appropriate clothing
Bird watching. Binoculars and a guidebook.
Fishing. Fishing rod, reel and minimal tackle.
Running. Just running in general can be great. If you need a challenge, sign up for a 5k, 10k or more.
Cycling. If you have children, get them riding too. My kids love family bike rides. A bike, shoes and a helmet is really all that is needed.
Collecting sea glass. As a minimalist, collecting isn’t typically promoted, but I’ve seen some lovely collections of sea glass in a small jar. If you find an abundance at a certain beach, then limit yourself to the most unique piece. The object is to be out in nature, not having a large amount.
Cooking. It needs to be done anyway, why not enjoy it?! Experiment with learning different cuisines. Simplify it by cooking that particular cuisine for a month or 2 so you use up the spices and unique ingredients that you purchase. If you don’t care for a certain ingredient, pass it on to someone else. Avoid purchasing gadgets or pots- most meals, of any ethnicity, can be created with limited kitchen equipment.
Boating. There are many boat instructions to make yourself in about 40 hours, canoe or sailboat, etc. Keeping everything simple and including family members makes everything more enjoyable and is perfect for building memories.
Golfing. Just 3 basic clubs and a way to carry them, is all you need.
Gardening. Gardening can be done indoors with something as simple as houseplants, herbs in a window, bonsai, or outdoors with a patio garden or large gardens in your yard. Keep it to a manageable amount, where you know you will have the time it needs to devote to it.
Sewing/handcrafts. Purchase your supplies with a clear project in mind. Avoid buying things because they are on sale, or to do “someday”. Get what you need for the project you want to work on and then complete that project before moving on to the next one.
Photography. A good camera is all you need. Get one with a lens that is versatile and will work for a variety of images, rather than getting different lenses. Work with natural light and refine your skills until you are amazing in one particular form of photography. Delete duplicates or similar shots when you download your images and just post your favorite images on a blog, tumblr or flickr page. There are also many youtube videos on just using your phone for photography. Why not accept the challenge?
Painting. Brushes and primary colors, that can be mixed. You can purchase canvases as needed, or paint on repurposed wood. Donating paintings to silent auctions for charities are great ways to keep them from piling up.
Reading. You can have any adventure or learn about interests easily with reading. Kindles are a great way to store books, but there are many people who prefer holding a physical book in their hands. Libraries, used books, passing them on when you are done are good ways to keep balance.
Writing. Start a blog, public or private, it doesn’t matter. Go for something that is free like blogger or wordpress.org, or journal regularly in a notebook. You don’t need a fancy computer or special programs for blogging and journaling can be done on the computer or in a simple notebook.
Music. I have one son that loves creating music, he currently has a guitar and a piano. No other gadgets are needed and he keeps all his notes and records them on his phone, which keeps everything simple. Another son loves listening to music and keeps his collections digital.
Do you have a hobby that is “minimal”? What is it? Please share your tips on keeping balance in your hobbies.