That Seventh Blue T-Shirt You Really Didn’t Need

I like to think I’m fairly minimalist, but admit I probably have at least twice as many t-shirts as I need.

My standard “uniform” tends to be some kind of print t-shirt, usually with a tree or mountain or Land Rover or bicycle on the front – the kind that Fat Face churn out dozens of subtly different designs of each year – plus casual, hard wearing but comfortable chino style trousers, plus a check shirt or fleece (or both) on top.

My views on temptation lean towards not putting yourself in its line of fire, rather than trying to show some kind of heroic self restraint in the face of a constant barrage of it.

Why put yourself through that torment?

This applies to anything from people (who you may be drawn to in ways that might damage your existing relationships) to cameras to trainers to chocolate to vintage toys, and a thousand other things between.

If you don’t want to be tempted to eat chocolate, don’t have much (or any) of it in the house.

If you don’t want to keep buying trainers, don’t visit trainer stores (online or off), delete those specialist trainer store apps from your phone, and unsubscribe from their daily special offer emails.

With any of these objects – and a million other variations – there’s a pretty low limit to how many you can practically use, benefit from and enjoy.

Beyond this saturation point, they just become a burden – physically and mentally.

Too many means too much choice, too much to store, too much to organise, too much to maintain, and you end up not appreciating any of them.

Plus the unique appeal of each diminishes, because it’s constantly being diluted by highly similar other variations.

If you had, say, one DSLR and one digital compact camera, the differences between operating the two are likely to be very significant.

Whilst there’d be some overlap, there are things you can do with the DSLR that you can’t with the compact, and vice versa.

So you would enjoy and value each for what they can offer.

But owning six or 16 or 26 DSLRs, it’s likely that there’s little between them, other than incremental “upgrades”, or features.

What also happens, is once you get past a certain saturation point, you’re forever looking for these minute differences, hairs are being split ever more finely.

That very obvious difference between a DSLR and compact changes once you have a dozen of each.

Then you start looking at a different compact that has a 35mm f/1.9 lens rather than a 35mm f/2 lens, or weighs only 149g, not 169g, or a DSLR that shoots at six frames per second instead of five, or has 49 auto focus points rather than 45, all the while convincing yourself that these tiny margins makes a huge difference.

In other words, you’re looking for cracks and gaps in your existing collection to fill, rather than enjoying what you have.

With those gaps becoming ever smaller and more insignificant.

This post came about as I resisted purchasing another blue t-shirt the other day, remembering I already have three or four that are pretty similar.

It’s strange how this pattern has come out stronger in something like clothing, which I’m fairly indifferent about most of the time (hence my fairly basic uniform described above, and the fact that I try to buy everything in muted and neutral enough colours (black, blue, grey, green, brown, dark red) that it all matches each other).

Perhaps the fact that I’ve not bought a new (to me) camera in around five months – probably the longest purchase-less run in about eight years – means this curiosity to gather and collect something new is evolving into other areas of my life.

Nevertheless, I’m more aware of it than ever before, so can detect when it’s trying to sneak up on me – in whichever guise!

How do you resist the temptation of constantly buying cameras (or t-shirts, or trainers, or anything else) that are incredibly similar to what you already have?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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14 thoughts on “That Seventh Blue T-Shirt You Really Didn’t Need”

  1. I’ve a new camera in as much as I’ve started taking photos with a DSLR I’ve had for a few years,and have only used for digitizing 120 negs.
    It’s a humble D3400,set up in monochrome mode-yellow filter effect and the contrast turned up a notch.Sharpening left well alone.
    With a 35 1.8 (50 equivalent) it pumps out lovely black and white jpegs,and it’s small and light and easy to live with.The lens stays on.I treat it as a fixed lens camera.
    Between it and the GR2 i’ve got my favourite focal lengths covered Can’t see myself buying another camera.
    And it’s been in my drawer all along!

    1. Craig, I do love this approach with an interchangeable lens camera – just finding a lens that you love and treating it like a fixed lens camera. You still get the benefits of a DSLR over a smaller compact camera, but with what can be an overwhelming choice of lenses.

  2. Well, the only thing I have to resist to is my wife urging me to buy new t-shirts to replace my very very old ones 🙂
    This is generally a long process for me to decide to buy new stuff! Except books maybe. Interestingly, my children also are not inclined to buy new stuff.

  3. Hello, I totally agree with your approach of minimal but capable set of cameras. I have three digital and three analog cameras. Each camera fits different scenario, need, mood. Small, entry level mirrorless, bigger more advanced DSLR, SLR with AF and manual SLR, digital compact and analog compact. If I would like to try a new camera, I am selling its equivalent from my collection.

    1. Marc I really like that one in, one out approach, and it’s something I did for quite a while in the past. Otherwise you end up with a dozen cameras with very little between them, and not giving any of them enough time to properly use and enjoy.

  4. I’m not really allowed to be a hoarder.
    When my wife thinks I have too many t-shirts, or shirts, or shoes, she will go through them when I’m not looking, and throw away whatever she doesn’t like until she’s happy with how many I have.
    I keep most of my cameras and lenses well hidden from her… though I don’t have as much stuff as a lot of people I talk to in the forum, it’s about 5 bodies and 20 lenses, so the majority of it must remain out of sight!

  5. I think is rather being meticulous (being aware of the quality of an item) rather than a shopping spree (which can be just because the brand in the tag. I got cameras and earphones to play music with a dedicated mp3, maybe with differences other would not notice (once I gift a portrait to a family and those that didn’t see my compact camera thought it from a DSLR) I have the same care to choose for belts, jackets, mousepads or cellphones (not by brands but by intrinsic qualities), while others would simply not notice. Similar to you when I saw things I could get lately I have taken a rational choice to not doing it.

    1. I think I’ve always researched anything I wanted to get before buying – sometimes far too much! It’s rare I make an impulse buy unless it’s something low cost and low risk, like a chocolate bar or something fun for the kids.

      I hate having to buy something again because the first one I bought doesn’t fit my needs, isn’t of good quality and so on.

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