Becoming a Minimalist: Thoughts on Owning Less and Living More

4 Jul

Part I: “The Things You Own, Ending Up Owning You.”

While I don’t even own all that much stuff already, I feel there’s always room for improvement to own less. 🙂

Actually, the truth is, I’ve been reading about people doing things like owning 100 things or less and while I was recently traveling in California and living out of laptop bag, I realized how liberating it would be to try and get rid of a bunch of crap and live on less.

That being said, I’m now making a concerted effort to get rid of much of my belongings that are just taking up space and not getting any real use.

The litmus test here is to ask myself the following question:

“What value am I getting from owning this item?”

If there’s no clear answer to that question, the best thing to do is probably get rid of it.

That means either donating it, giving it to a friend, selling it, or if I have to, throwing it in the trash.

So far this means I’ve gotten rid of a ton of books. About 3 or 4 grocery bags worth actually. (Which is hard, because I love books – it’s really the only “thing” I tend to buy on a semi-regular basis.)

I’ve also been able to sell some VHS tapes and DVD’s, but not many.

But I’m not yet sure what the best will be to get rid of so many smaller items, not to mention old clothes, extra computers, random computer parts, decorative items, and so on. Probably a garage sale followed by a visit to Goodwill.

I’m also thinking of getting rid of my TV and entertainment center, since 99% of anything I watch I do on my computer and not my TV, which is huge and weighs 100 pounds and takes up an entire corner of my bedroom. It would be kinda nice to have that extra space back in which to put – wait for it – nothing!

Do I really need 4 Time-Life Classical music Boxed Sets? Nah...

Part II: Damn – Why Do We Always Own More Crap Than We Realize?

If you’ve recently moved, you know how this works.

The more you go through your things and pack them, the more shocked you are to realize how much more crap there is still left to pack. And oh no, what about all that stuff in the attic? And so on…

That’s what’s happening to me now as I try to reduce the amount of belongings I own.

When I sold my condo a couple years back, I downgraded my entire living quarters into a large bedroom equivalent to a studio apartment. This meant I did get rid of a lot of stuff but I also put a bunch of things in the attic at my new place. Now, all that crap in the attic is coming back to haunt me! And then there’s all the stuff in my closet. And then there’s even more stuff in the trunk of my car and in the back seat, just taking up space and serving no purpose. And god only knows where I have more crap hidden that I will soon unearth and have to deal with.

Hopefully, by the end of this month, I will have significantly reduced the amount of items in my attic, closet, and car, and everywhere else!

I think it might be fun to do an update at the beginning of August. What do you think?

Part III: Getting Rid of Things Opens Up Options & Opportunities

I want to mention again how liberating it does feel to own very little. I say this because this whole “minimalism” thing isn’t just something to “do.” For me, it has very personal, practical, and positive consequences.

The main reason I fancy the idea of owning very little is that I feel it makes it easier to experience what the world has to offer.

I already work from home and can potentially work from anywhere the world (so long as I have my laptop and a solid internet connection.) The less I own the easier it is to put such things into practical specifics and travel, visit friends and family in other cities, or even move altogether to a different city if I wanted to.

So yea! 🙂

That’s basically my main motivation in doing all this.

Now it’s your turn:

What do you think about the relationship between the amount of things we own and how it effects our lives?

How do you feel about the attitude behind such goals as “Owning 100 Items or Less”?

What other reasons do you think make sense for owning less?

3 Responses to “Becoming a Minimalist: Thoughts on Owning Less and Living More”

  1. Jonathan July 11, 2010 at 1:51 am #

    I’m all for this idea. I seem to be a natural minimalist. I’ve never liked having things that serve no purpose. Besides furniture, I’m able to fit everything I own into my car. And I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything – in fact – I’m glad I don’t own a lot of crap!

    I have about 20-30 books I need to donate too.

  2. Anonymous August 4, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    I’m going to get rid of things I don’t need.Seen this before on the net. I don’t really have a lot of stuff. A computer and books, mainly. Never was much for shopping or buying stuff. The more money I spent the more I thought about what I got.

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  1. Minimalism & Owning Less: Part II | Dreaming Life - September 10, 2010

    […] II By Ben, on September 10th, 2010 Back on the 4th of July I wrote some thoughts on minimalism and owning less. Basically I want to get rid of as much stuff as possible that doesn’t really provide any […]

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