Wednesday, 7 June 2017


A while back I listened to the audiobook of Stuffocation. (It's been out for a couple of years so I'm behind the curve as usual).If it's possible to be stuffocated by a book, then I have to confess, Stuffocation did stuffocate me a little. Mainly because it's unabridged and is so thorough in articulating its thesis. Namely, that too much stuff is bad for us - our physical and mental health - and bad for the planet. And that it would be better if, rather than being consumers or materialists, we became 'Experientialists', valuing experiences over things.

Image result for Stuffocation audio book

The book begins by exploring how and why we have become so stuffocated and looks at the darker sides of too much clutter. It then looks at real people living less stuffocated lives, with some very detailed case studies of minimalists, those who have chosen a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity, or a 'medium chill' philosophy (still working but not relentlessly pursuing the rungs of the career ladder). 

Whether you take one of those routes or not, Wallman recommends de-stuffocating to begin taking steps away from materialism - getting rid of stuff, making sure you don't re-stuffocate (perhaps that's where my de-stuffocating goes wrong), and playing a version of the 'Brewsters Millions' game, where you spend what you'd normally spend per month and see if you can do so without having anything to show for it. (I.e. you'll have spent your money on experiences not stuff.)

Although I couldn't see myself in many of the case studies and sometimes the writing style jarred, I like Wallman's premise. Whilst the concept itself is not a new idea, maybe his re-packaging might attract a different audience; one who wouldn't necessarily be interested in minimalism or simple living.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Experientialists...from Stuffocation by James Wallman

1) Know your stuff - How often do you use your stuff? How much do you need? Does it make you happy or cause you stress, debt or even depression?

2) Find your Ladder - be lower on a ladder to somewhere you want to be, rather than at the top of a ladder that you don't want to be on.

3) Be Here Now - Be in the zone or 'flow' 

4) Be your own audience - Do things that you'd do even if no-one was watching (via social media). Don't take pics.

5) Put People First - Don't forget that humans are social animals. Ask yourself, "how might I do this with others?"

6) Spend well - be mindful of what you buy. Are you contributing to the throw-away culture. Focus on experiential products (things that will bring experiences like a bike or a guitar).

7) Choose Life/Choose Experience (rather than being a human cog in the wheel of materialism...)
What do you think?

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  1. I'm unconvinced by the choose experiences over stuff thing. Sure experiences don't have a physical manifestation but they still use resources and some of them use a lot (air flights etc). I'm more about being passionate about learning, learn a language, a hobby etc. Should be cheaper than the average experience although you might have stuff at the end of it (but could be clothes/food etc).

  2. I've never read Stuffocation but I have enjoyed The Minimalists blog for years, and I do believe minimalism and frugality work quite nicely together. I eschew gifts (and therefore mostly successfully duck out of giving them too). Before buying things, I think "do I have something I can use at home". It's stimulated some creative triumphs (and some hilarious disasters) but generally my life is far richer without an abundance of possessions.

    I might check out the book now, if I can find it in a local library. Thanks for the review :)