The convenience of non-ownership

     As I was walking to the laundromat a few blocks away from my home, I was thinking about the time saved if we owned our own washer and dryer. Yet immediately afterward, I started thinking about the added expense of such a choice. There would be the upfront cost of purchasing them, of course, then the added water and energy use in the home. Also with them would come maintenance expenses of any problems which come up over the lifespan of the machines. They would also take up a decent amount of space, which becomes mentionable when we’re talking about a total living area of 500 square feet or less. On my walk during an overcast afternoon, I decided the convenience of avoiding all of the above financial, spacial, and stress-inducing issues is worth more to me than the convenience of not having to walk a few blocks each way to my local laundromat.

     There are many aspects of my life which come down to my partner and I deciding it’s more worth it to not own. For example, between the two of us we only own one car (and my motorcycle, which helps during part of the year). Are there benefits to us having a second car? Yes; we would have simpler logistics for errands and work travels. However, to do so we would have to accept taking out debt to purchase the car, pay to insure it and cover routine maintenance, as well as deal with parking (our current rental only has a one car driveway). These are, for us, far more significant inconveniences than the benefits we would gain from having a car for each of us. We rather having the one car and have become quite good at working out logistics for us both to do all the travels/errands/social visits/etc we wish. The excess hardship the expense of such a purchase is far from worth it to us. Another consideration which helps is us both currently working within walking distance of home for our primary work commitments.

     The reasoning process for these decisions has two parts. First, I reflect on the pros and cons of these decisions. For instance, laundry machines take up a good deal of space. When considering purchasing them, I think about how we utilize the space we have, and how it would change if a laundry machine came into our home. Second, I consider my trips to the laundromat; I quite enjoy doing laundry, as it forces me to disconnect for roughly an hour for everything waiting for me at home. Instead, I bring a book with me, maybe a snack and/or tea, and I take the time to relax from the regular flow of my days. I have turned the routine act of doing laundry into a mini-vacation. If I were to do laundry at home, this would disappear as I would be surrounded by all the usual tasks I want to get done.

     What aspects of your life have you found ways to do without happily? How have some areas of your life been improved by not having something you could have?


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