If you want to be given everything, give everything up.
- Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Give everything up. Are you crazy, Lao? But no chance in asking him how he gave up certain things.
In a world so attached to consumerism, those three words together, “Give everything up”, are quite hard to accomplish.
So you might think, why would I need to give up my possessions? I’m comfortable having them.
That’s great if you are comfortable having them, but have you thought why you keep certain objects? When I look through all my possessions, I find random buys, that causes me to think, “Why on earth, did I buy this in the first place?”
For me, I don’t need to look further than to find a shiny, gold satin shirt that I bought back in middle school, stuffed in the back corner of my closet, collecting dust. WTF. Bad fashion sense.
From that point on, I realized I’ve been buying “things” I really don’t need. They are just temporary pleasures. And then they are thrown into the back closet or storage, never to be seen or used again.
Now that I’ve embraced and proclaimed my “minimalist lifestyle”, I’ve put together a few thoughts I’d like to share wit you. The following you might also experience and go through when you proclaim your desire to be a minimalist:
1. You might be perceived as “cheap”. I rarely eat out or buy anything that doesn’t save toward my eventual travel budget. Therefore, I’ve been perceived and told that I am cheap. Yup, straight to my face. But guess what? I’m not embarrassed by that. And quite frankly, I don’t care.
This is where your friends or society in general, influence you to spend money eating out, or going out every weekend. And if you don’t, then for some reason, you become a loser. In the end, some people get the concept of minimalism, while others just don’t. Don’t let those who view you as “cheap” get in your way!
2. You’ll see your friends continue to spend money buying clothes or going out. So this is the hard part, when you see everyone else, spending away, and being happy. And then it makes you question if your desire to become a minimalist, is crazy. Don’t buckle from the external pressure.
Remind yourself that many people “retail therapy” shop. People don’t realize that they are sometimes shopping, just to shop and make themselves feel good by buying something. And no, buying something on sale, doesn’t constitute as an excuse to keep buying. Only buy, what you need. Everything else just doesn’t matter.
3. You de-clutter your life. Both in the literal and figurative sense. I remember emptying out 75% of my old clothes from the closet, and donating them to charity. Then taking a bunch of my books and DVDs, and giving them away. After doing that with a bunch of other unnecessary items I had in my room, I noticed how much space was left. And it just felt great to have more room and space.
You don’t have to just donate your items to charity or give away, feel free to also sell your items at garage sale or Craigslist. Those are more ways to de-clutter and earn money back!
4. You feel less tied down. A great benefit to becoming a minimalist. Mobility and having the ability to move around, from place to place, is much easier with less possessions. Traveling is also more simple since you won’t need to bring so much luggage at all. When I travel, even on months timing, I usually only bring one duffle bag. I find I can hold everything I need in there. It always amazes me when I see people and friends pack up to 2-3 large suitcases of clothing for just one weekend. Seriously?
5. You save money in the long-term and you value what is most important to you. Enough said on the eventual result of becoming a minimalist.
Of course, I understand that minimalist lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Beginning the minimalist lifestyle requires a change in your mindset and then a change in your lifestyle. Look to these other people for examples and defining your minimalist lifestyle:
- “I have become a minimalist” – Jaime from Breakaway Backpacker
- “Travel Hacking, Flashpacking, and Super Lightweight Backpacking” – Dan from Lifestyle Business Podcast
- “Breaking Free From Consumerist Chains” – Leo of Zen Habits
- Check out “The Minimalists” blog, run by Joshua and Ryan.
How has the minimalist lifestyle impacted your way of living?
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