An Escapologist’s Diary. Part 36. Dark Matter.

Three domestic opportunities for minimalism arise. Oh baby. It’s rare for even one to come up these days since I’m already down to brass tacks (Tacks? Excessive!).

1. Life without microwaves

A microwave oven is something most devout minimalists are proud to be free of, but since I tend to rent furnished apartments there’s usually one around.

When our microwave exploded last weekend, my girlfriend suggested we try to live without it rather than replace it. Music to my ears!

Since I do most of our cooking the old-fashioned way, the only thing we ever used the microwave for was to reheat leftover coffee (a dirty habit anyway). I suspect we will not replace it. Already the microwave-shaped empty space in our tiny kitchen is nourishing my minimalist soul.

2. Eradication of DVD

Years ago, I minimised my DVD collection by jettisoning the cases and filing the discs into a handy DJ case. I now have an alphabetised DVD collection the size of a shoe box. It’s a work of art.

But! I want rid of it. Watching DVDs has become a bore. I prefer to read books for home entertainment these days; but even if you’re happy to watch videos, DVDs are a lousy experience compared to Internet downloads. They jump, they’re often incompatible with newer media software, and you have to humour the obstacle courses of animated menus and the offensive anti-piracy warnings. So I’m giving away my beloved collection of classic British sitcoms to my friend Phil, a Canadian, who likes British comedy and will be new to much of my curated treasure.

3. A blitz on Dark Matter

I’ve wanted to mention ‘Dark Matter’ for ages. Dark Matter is the mysterious, barely-detectable matter that physicists believe accounts for much of the universe’s mass. It’s also the metaphor I use for the unseen stuff shoved into the backs of cupboards. It’s the shameful plaque-like accumulations that minimalists don’t count on their inventories, preferring instead to pretend it doesn’t exist. But there can be loads of it! (By loads, in our case, I mean there was a desk lamp, some empty boxes, and a beach towel — like I say, brass tacks). It’s now no longer with us.

Why the sudden attack on our Dark Matter? We used to keep suitcases under our bed, something which has always bothered me. They would accumulate dust bunnies and the symbolism alone was a headache, so I wanted to relocate them to our closet, hence the need to clear it out.

Now that we’ve courageously tackled Dark Matter, the breath of chi dragons can swirl around us unencumbered as we sleep.

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

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