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Minimalism, Everything I Own Fits in a Suitcase

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Minimalism means focusing on the essentials. I'm a bit extreme there. Everything I own fits in a medium-sized suitcase.

Minimalism

Minimalism

Table of Contents

My Current Possessions

Minimalism, My Story

What Keeps You From Minimalism

Things That You Can Safely Gut

Minimalism vs. Consumer Society

I Consume, Hence I Am

Shopping As A Hobby

Is Shopping A Hobby To You?

Minimalism, Doing Things Instead Of Owning Things

My Current Possessions

  • Three T-shirts and six shirts.
  • Two pants, three shorts.
  • Two pairs of shoes (work and sports).
  • Two sweaters, a jacket, three hats.
  • Socks and undies.
  • Laptop, iPad, iPhone, Kindle and a few non ebooks.
  • A toiletry bag.

That's less than most people pack for a weekend trip. Reducing oneself to so little is certainly not something for everyone.

minimalism-everything-i-own-fits-in-a-suitcase

Minimalism, My Story

I decided in October 2002 to sell and give away unnecessary stuff.

  • Clothes that I didn't wear anymore.
  • Books that I had read.
  • Things I wasn't using anymore.

At first, I broke loose very little of my stuff, then I got into a frenzy and got rid of more and more. After a few weeks, I had surprisingly earned almost $1500 through the sales. A short time later I used the money to buy a round trip ticket.

Minimalism now is self-evident for me but when I cleaned out, it was different

I thought that I was missing something significant and I could regret the sale of certain items. But with that assessment, I was 100% wrong.

To date, I have missed nothing of what I have sold or given away. Not once. Nor the things that I thought were of emotional value to me. This realization has impressed me deeply.

We are emotionally attached to many things because we believe that they define us and are part of us, but in the end, they do not care about us. And that's damn liberating.

What Keeps You From Minimalism

Owning less and living more minimalist will do you good. But sometimes that's not so easy.

Maybe you have already tried to clear out and realized that you could use everything somehow and someday. Give away the ugly tiger costume of Halloween 2012? What if I wear it again? Or maybe I have children?

That it's so difficult for us to separate things is due to the phenomenon of loss aversion. This phenomenon is the human tendency to weight losses higher than profits. People expect, for example, that the loss of one dollar has more influence than the profit of one dollar.

Be it the separation of the partner, the loss of $1 or just the mucking out of the old tiger costume of 2012 (or did you go as a spiderman?), Losses create emotional pain. That's why it's so hard to separate ourselves from things even when we don't need them anymore. And I don't mean your partner ;)


minimalism-everything-i-own-fits-in-a-suitcase

Things That You Can Safely Gut

Anything you own twice or three times, or use less than three or four times a year, you can safely gut, you will miss none of it. Here is a list of usual suspects,

  • Clothes. You will probably always wear the same four pants and tops.
  • Anything you wear less than four times a year may go away.
  • Shoes. You do not need 20 pairs. No, not even if you're female.
  • TV. Steals a lot of time and keeps you from living your life. Selected films you can watch on DVD or in the cinema.
  • CDs!!!! We live in the 21st century. How about digitization?
  • Books. I read almost exclusively on my Kindle. This saves money, time and resources.
  • Automobile. Some need their car, others love it. But maybe you can do without.

You'll see, it's a great feeling to get rid of unnecessary possessions. But why is there so much stuff going on?

Minimalism vs. Consumer Society

Our society is increasingly defined by consumption and ownership.

I used to think that my possessions are part of my identity. When I bought a new jacket, I wondered which one best reflects my personality.


That's what Brad Pitt criticizes in the cult movie Fight Club

You are not your job. You are not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You are not the content of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all the singing and dancing crap of the world

You are not your job. You are not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You are not the content of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all the singing and dancing crap of the world

Identity through ownership is a widespread epidemic. But it is also the engine of our economy.

Companies are investing billions in marketing to make you believe that what you need is their product. But once you have bought it, there is again a new product, which promises you even more happiness, freedom, attractiveness and coolness. You are not satisfied with your life? That's probably because you still have the iPhone 7.

With every new product you buy, you feel that you are becoming a little more of the person you want to be. Every new product promises you a little more of what you want so much.

But you can only win this race by getting out. For me, the consumption trap has worked for years. I believed that once I got the look, the watch and the fragrance from the magazines, I would become the man I always wanted to be. Advertising affects us all.

I Consume, Hence I Am

The illusion of self-realization through consumption is good for the economy but has a negative impact on our well-being. Thus, the insatiability of our consumer desires proves dissatisfaction. But this dissatisfaction is desirable, as it often leads to further consumption.

Satisfied people who don't define their identity through ownership are the horrors of the consumer economy. By now I almost only buy items when I really need them. If I get a new pair of trousers, it's because the old one is broken or no longer fits. Sears certainly want other customers.

Shopping As A Hobby

In addition to the problem that more and more people are defining themselves through consumption and hoping for more happiness, shopping is increasingly becoming a pastime.

Shopping is for mood enhancement, distraction, or compensation for anything else.

Dissatisfied with your profession? Relationship issues? For two years no sex? Never mind, there's a sale somewhere!

Is Shopping A Hobby To You?

Don't get me wrong. I am not against any kind of consumption. I will not lead the nomadic life forever, that I lead at the moment.

I'll eventually get an apartment or a house, fill it with furniture, hang a few pictures on the wall and put a car in front of the door.

But material things are just material things. A car takes me from A to B, but it does not define me. Neither does a house, a pair of jeans or a smartphone.

minimalism-everything-i-own-fits-in-a-suitcase

Minimalism, Doing Things Instead Of Owning Things

Minimalism is not just about consuming and owning less, but understanding what's really meaningful in your life and giving up the superfluous. Do more of what is good for you and as much as possible do without the rest.

You should stop focusing on possessions, and focus on experiences. The latter really shape your identity and make you happier even if they cost you money. Investing money in experiences makes you happier than spending money on material things. A trip around the world will enrich you for a lifetime, not so a new car.

Unless you use the car for the around the world trip.

Material things have their raison d'être, a justification for their existence, but they can not compensate for what is really important in life. A fulfilling life is to do things, not to own things.

As opposed to buying designer jeans for $290, get a plane ticket and spend a few days in a foreign city.

Rather than shopping on the weekends, learn a new language, learn to play a musical instrument or meet new people. Or do it all at once. Instead of slacking off in front of your TV, meet with friends and do something.

Material Things Have Their raison d'être, A Justification For Their Existence

Don't ask yourself which style of clothing best expresses your personality, work on your personality and get to know yourself better. Instead of buying a new car, plan a trip.

The realization that it is about experiencing and not about owning, can change your life. When I came to the realization, I decided to start my own business and travel around the world instead of pursuing a career as an industrial engineer.

Did I regret my decision? No, not once. I don't have much, but I feel quite rich.

© 2019 Danyel

Comments

PoetikalyAnointed on May 16, 2019:

You are very welcome.

Danyel (author) on May 16, 2019:

First off, I want to thank you for reading my post. I'm thrilled to know that you got something out of it.

You went through some tough times but you know what, you file that under bad experiences and lock up the folder.

Time only moves in one direction, what has happened can't be undone, and what will happen we have no control over. All that matters is the here and now, we live in this moment.

Happiness, everyone has got an interpretation thereof. I thought I was happy then until I let go of things.

With home, car and various other liabilities and obligations, one is clearly more dependent on the working system to stay afloat.

In other words, the higher your expenses the deeper you going to fall if something happens.

However, if one is free in the mind about the place of residence, as independent as possible and maintains a minimalist lifestyle, life is certainly easier.

Sure, you need something to eat and a bed to sleep everywhere. But, depending on the place of residence, there are clear differences in the cost of living, as we all know.

PoetikalyAnointed on May 15, 2019:

What's up Danyel?

I absolutely love what you've said here and I'm surprised I'm the first to reply.

You pointed out several key points to Consumerism and very humorously too lol. However, the problem at hand isn't funny at all.

I have some experience with letting go of people, places and things so I truly appreciated your Hub here.

I'm glad that you are happy with life right now, despite letting go of so much of your life.

Very inspiring and thought-proviking, thanks!