Author Topic: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.  (Read 3038 times)

CrazyStudentDad

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Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« on: August 02, 2017, 06:17:08 AM »
I am a maker with two thoughts/problems here.

1 - I love making stuff. Which often means tools, parts/supplies, and various resources. Those can add up! Is spending money on projects that don't really make money a silly thing to do?

2 - I do collect things for projects, much of it is free, other stuff isn't. But it's starting to add up too! And I mean in volume! My wife and I recently moved to a new apartment, and I was surprised by how much crap I have just for all my projects! Sometimes I get slightly wasteful just because I can't find or don't remember if I have what I need. :/

Financial situation: No debt, still in college, graduating in a couple years with an engineering degree, make not much money ($23k between the two of us), currently spend even less than we make. Have a kid, 1.5 years old, love of my life.

Lepetitange3

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2017, 06:22:40 AM »
1) don't spend more than you have to make but if you enjoy it go for it.  This includes having an eye to the future- you're in school now, but be maximizing your investment options.

Maybe even set a fixed budget for it.  No more than xxx a month on making. 

2) I have a dedicated craft closet.  If it does not fit in the craft closet, it does not stay, or when the closet gets overfull, I purge what I'm not using.  You can frequently sell extra crafting stuff online .  This also helps with your first question.

If there's a hard limit on space and money than the hobby can remain enjoyable and not take over your spending or your home.  And I bet that kid will love helping with projects in the future!

Orvell

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2017, 06:30:31 AM »
In terms of tools and other resources, Makerspaces can be an answer!
They're fairly common, and definitely worth looking into. Depending on your needs it might help you out a lot-- it's a fixed monthly cost for access to a huge space with loads of tools (obviously dependent upon your location etc. -- not all Makerspaces are the same, and some are much more Dudebro lands of tech than crafting lands.)

I'm also a maker. My stuff is almost always visual art, but even when it's the one "thing" I like trying out new mediums, techniques, and ways of doing things. It costs money, but I try to make sure I only get what I actually plan on using, not what I might someday use. If there isn't a specific project for it, it goes on the 'want' list and not the shopping basket. :)

CrazyStudentDad

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2017, 06:47:17 AM »
1) don't spend more than you have to make but if you enjoy it go for it.  This includes having an eye to the future- you're in school now, but be maximizing your investment options.

Maybe even set a fixed budget for it.  No more than xxx a month on making. 

2) I have a dedicated craft closet.  If it does not fit in the craft closet, it does not stay, or when the closet gets overfull, I purge what I'm not using.  You can frequently sell extra crafting stuff online .  This also helps with your first question.

If there's a hard limit on space and money than the hobby can remain enjoyable and not take over your spending or your home.  And I bet that kid will love helping with projects in the future!

I really like that idea of a hard limit. The money part had occurred to me, but not for space! +1 Thanks!

CrazyStudentDad

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2017, 06:49:38 AM »
In terms of tools and other resources, Makerspaces can be an answer!
They're fairly common, and definitely worth looking into. Depending on your needs it might help you out a lot-- it's a fixed monthly cost for access to a huge space with loads of tools (obviously dependent upon your location etc. -- not all Makerspaces are the same, and some are much more Dudebro lands of tech than crafting lands.)

I'm also a maker. My stuff is almost always visual art, but even when it's the one "thing" I like trying out new mediums, techniques, and ways of doing things. It costs money, but I try to make sure I only get what I actually plan on using, not what I might someday use. If there isn't a specific project for it, it goes on the 'want' list and not the shopping basket. :)

I'm in Wisconsin too! Studying at UW-Platteville! The school has a variety of resources that I should make better use of...

CrazyStudentDad

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2017, 06:58:33 AM »
One more thing:

I so envy my best friend who's main hobby is software. He leads a life of simplistic minimalism. Glorious. The only tool he needs is his laptop, and a monitor.

I dig into a project, and the room fills with scraps, tools, and solder smoke. -_- But at the end of it all, I DO have something real! :D

Feivel2000

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2017, 07:10:52 AM »
I think the Minimalists answer this question with
1) try to get along with less and see if you really need all that stuff. Maybe having less will lead to more creative solutions.

2) you don't have to minimize stuff if it is important and valuable for you. Minimalism is about removing the clutter to have more time, money and space for the important things.

fluffmuffin

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2017, 07:11:26 AM »

I'm in Wisconsin too! Studying at UW-Platteville! The school has a variety of resources that I should make better use of...

Definitely lean on your university's resources. Pretty much every university with an engineering school is going to have things like 3D printers, tools, studio or work spaces, etc. You're paying for them with your tuition and university fees--it's anti-mustachian to be paying for something and not leveraging it!

Fire2025

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2017, 07:21:25 AM »
Non-minimalist just stopping in to say hello and good luck.  I've come to terms with the fact that I'll never be a minimalist, that will have a cost, but needing to create is why I want to FIRE, to have more time to create.  So the circle continues. 

I have no real advice other than, if you save 50+% of you income it should all work out stuff or no stuff. 

MBot

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2017, 09:16:04 AM »
Another vote for the limiting of space - one tote, one closet, one antique trunk etc.

I have a trunk for sewing and a large rolling suitcase for leatherworking.

But don't get me started on all our woodworking stuff! :)

fluffmuffin

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2017, 12:17:31 PM »
Oh, woodworking. My SO has an entire basement for all of his toys. I have no idea what will happen when we need to move--I guess we can only be looking at places with garages or basements...

affordablehousing

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2017, 02:51:13 PM »
+1 for embracing maximalism. I worked out of a 300 square foot apartment for a lot of years, albeit without a child, and just made do with my living room tablesaw getting everything dusty. Learn when trash day is, what your local scrap yard's policies are for selling funky pieces to the public, and make friends with university shop managers who might give out scrap and old tools. Always buy from Craigslist over Harbor Freight, and know that a larger space is around the corner. One note is that if you buy tools from Craigslist, you'll almost always be able to sell them on Craigslist for the same or more when you're done with them or need the space for something else. I have always been shocked that you can buy an old tool, use it for 5 years, and sell it for more than you started with- usable antiques.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2017, 03:55:26 PM »
OP is asking a great question.  I've certainly struggled with at what point is minimalism not really all that environmentally friendly? Since this is the MMM forum, lets assume minimizing environmental impact is part of our frugality goal. 

I've got a couple bins of materials left overs and odds and ends. There is a pile of tools that don't necessarily get used very much. But, with a little time, an awful lot can get done for free (well, just my time) with those.  To recycle, reuse ect, one needs some basic hand tools. Add a few power tools and it gets pretty easy to do a lot of stuff for yourself. Things like canning preserves from the fruit trees in the yard requires, well, stuff that gets re used every year. The canvas/heavy cloth sewing stuff doesn't get used very often, doesn't take up much space and I just fixed up a broken camping chair to get another few years out of it. (not what I bought it for)

At some point you go full on Maker with a drill press, lathe and are operating everything in your house with a Rasberry Pi its probably not so environmentally friendly either.

It also seems several minimalist friends like having someone to borrow tools from. They bring beer so there is certainly  no rush to publicly call out their hypocrisy.



Fire2025

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2017, 06:44:04 PM »
OP is asking a great question.  I've certainly struggled with at what point is minimalism not really all that environmentally friendly? Since this is the MMM forum, lets assume minimizing environmental impact is part of our frugality goal. 

I've got a couple bins of materials left overs and odds and ends. There is a pile of tools that don't necessarily get used very much. But, with a little time, an awful lot can get done for free (well, just my time) with those.  To recycle, reuse ect, one needs some basic hand tools. Add a few power tools and it gets pretty easy to do a lot of stuff for yourself. Things like canning preserves from the fruit trees in the yard requires, well, stuff that gets re used every year. The canvas/heavy cloth sewing stuff doesn't get used very often, doesn't take up much space and I just fixed up a broken camping chair to get another few years out of it. (not what I bought it for)

At some point you go full on Maker with a drill press, lathe and are operating everything in your house with a Rasberry Pi its probably not so environmentally friendly either.

It also seems several minimalist friends like having someone to borrow tools from. They bring beer so there is certainly  no rush to publicly call out their hypocrisy.

This is a great point.  I think this speaks to the old fashion notion of community.  The baker had his/her tools, carpenter, blacksmith and on and on and they bartered back and forth, so not everyone needed all the tools.  That's so much harder now.  But at least you can barter beers from your minimalist friends.  We've gotten a few free meals out of people without tools too.

fluffmuffin

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2017, 06:10:34 AM »
Totally agreed--my grandparents' families (grandma is one of seven, grandad was one of five) were constantly trading tools back and forth. My grandad's retirement job was working part-time in a hardware store, so he was basically the tool repository of the family. But my great-uncle did more work on cars so had more specialized mechanic's stuff, etc. It worked really well, and I'm glad to see that community tool libraries are becoming a thing in some locations. It just makes so much sense.

I also don't think minimalism is the be-all end-all. Should people fill up their homes (and garages, and storage units, and RVs, and...) with useless plastic trinkets? No. But there's nothing wrong with having stuff as long as you're using it and it adds value to your life. Not everyone is suited to living in a 550 square foot tiny house with one hammer, a screwdriver, and some duct tape, and that's okay.

J Boogie

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Re: Frugal Maker? Minimalism is impossible.
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2017, 07:19:09 AM »
They're expensive, but I use tanos (or festool) t-loc systainers.  Nothing will keep your tools and equipment as easy to access and transport, not to mention organized.  They are VERY tough to find on CL and eBay, you tend to pay full price which is very steep. 

But they are so worth it for me, having all my tools so organized so easily is a huge benefit.  I think of when I didn't have them - my tools would be strewn about everywhere randomly.

Specifically recommend the open top toolboxes because they're cheaper and easier to access.