Letter from the Creative & Editorial Director: The Luxury of Less

Sharp: The Book For Men Spring/Summer 2019, FEATURING COVER STAR Sam Rockwell, is out now.

Some of you will remember when I wrote about decluttering a few years ago. At the time, the prospect of owning only 150 things seemed both intriguing and potentially even appealing. Turns out it’s also impossible, for me at least. This has been top of mind as I aggressively expunge things from my life that I’ve been dragging around for years. I am, however, starting to see the end of our decluttering journey. Well, not really. More like cresting the hill. I don’t know that there can ever be an end, as the influx of stuff is unremitting. Instead of asking whether something might bring me joy I’m now left pondering why a thing might have brought me joy in the first place.

It appears to be in most of our natures to want to own and even collect things. Indisputably there’s plenty of encouragement, like Sharp: The Book for Men, feeding our desire for things. But really that’s just a source of inspiration and information to feed some kind of programmed desire to acquire and own. But why? I’m sure there’s research, but I don’t know that it will answer why I want to own, or even why it’s so hard to part with things. In some cases I’m glad a friend or acquaintance now has them to use or enjoy. I don’t think I miss a single thing I gave away or threw out…only the things I sold.

Most of the pain associated with decluttering has been the waste. Waste of time, of resources (that contributed to making the stuff in the first place), and waste of money. I shudder to think of just how hard we worked to, in turn, simply throw or give them away. Many things, regardless of their original cost, have little secondary value, never mind the time and energy required to sell them.

If all this seems like a bit of a downer as the preface to a periodical about stuff, it shouldn’t. For the most part the things we’ve curated for Sharp: The Book for Men are things that provide years of use and enjoyment and, in many cases, are things that hold their value or even may appreciate over time. They’re the kind of things I’ve kept. Such is the power and appeal of quality and good design. Many of the more often coveted and sought-after things on these pages are designed and built to stand the test of time and weather the vagaries of fads and trends. They’re the things you should strive for, buy, and bring into your home. And, like us, be unrelenting and unforgiving in expunging the rest.

Michael La Fave
Editorial & Creative Director