When I was a kid I collected leaflets of tourist destinations in the UK. Every time we went somewhere I’d grab a leaflet of that place and any other leaflets on offer. This must’ve gone on for at least a year or two until I had several shoeboxes of precious pamphlets about the delights of tourism in the Midlands and North Wales. Today, I can’t remember a single one of those destinations, and the boxes were thrown away long ago.
It’s funny how some things can seem so precious to us but actually be so useless.
Compared to Alex 1.0, I’ve since done a 180°. Now one of my habits is to throw away one thing every day, in pursuit of my goal of minimalism.
Wait? You’re a minimalist? So you want to throw out all of your possessions?
My goal in minimalism is to do more with less, and that means keeping at least some possessions around. For me, being a minimalist is more of a journey than a destination. I’ll never get down to zero possessions, but I am cutting down.
Why would on Earth would you want to cut down on stuff?
Plenty of reasons:
1. Freedom to move
I mean move in both senses. It’s much easier to move around my apartment with less stuff around, and having less stuff to pack means it’s so much easier to relocate to another apartment, city or country. I can happily relocate around the world with a 20-litre backpack (I recently came back from 2 long international trips with just this pack and got along fine).
A while ago I read The Life Nomadic by Tynan. This book, more than anything else, turned me onto minimalism for the sake of travel. It’s one of the few books that has changed the way I think and live.
2. Fewer decisions
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” [Obama] said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
I may not have as important a job as the President, but I still don’t want to waste my time picking out my clothes or deciding which bag I should use. Especially when it comes to clothing, most people are so self-conscious about what they wear that they won’t notice what you wear. Just think back to yesterday: what was your colleague wearing? If you can’t remember what they wore, chances are people won’t remember what you wear either.
3. Better things
Think about how many shirts you have in your wardrobe. How many of them do you REALLY like? And how often do you wear the ones you really like?
I only have two shirts that I regularly wear. Neither were cheap, but they’re merino shirts that last a long time, don’t get smelly, keep me at a nice temperature no matter the weather and are quick to dry. Yeah, they were expensive, but it costs more to own 20 T-shirts that aren’t as good and that I’d rarely wear.
It’s not just with shirts. I’ve pared down most of my life possessions, and find that it makes me appreciate the things I keep even more.
Over to you!
Are you a minimalist? What does minimalism mean to you? Want a hand minimising? Let me know in the comments!