Minimalist Lifestyle

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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Alexa9
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Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by Alexa9 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:52 am

I feel like as an average materialistic American, I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years and am now trying to declutter and keep only the essentials. I read a story about a couple that sold everything except a few suitcases and lived for extended periods around the world. It sounded frightening at the time but also very adventurous. Mild to moderate hoarding runs in both sides of my family. How do you avoid this and what are your essential items that you would put in your suitcase? Could you live out of a suitcase if you had to? Would you even want to?

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Blueskies123
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by Blueskies123 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:57 am

Only buy stuff you really really need, not just want for an emergency. Give unneeded stuff to charity, it is amazing how good it makes you feel.
No and No.

Here is a place for minimalists.
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/unread/

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JoMoney
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by JoMoney » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:05 am

I effectively do live out of a suitcase. I took a job working predominately overseas and travel quite a bit.
I frequently travel away from my primary home for several weeks or a month at a time with nothing more then a carry on travel bag. I don't have much for personal effects that I would regret throwing away if I had to move on a moments notice.
My employer provides my current living space furnished. I don't have decorations, I don't cook. When people have come over they don't believe I actually "live" there... really, I don't.. I sleep there... most of my time I spend at work, traveling, or doing something outside of the house. It's not for everyone, but it suits me. It actually bothers me to have "stuff" sitting around that doesn't get used collecting dust, sometimes I ponder if I have a condition that's on the opposite end of the "hoarder" extreme.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

Rupert
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by Rupert » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:11 am

Follow the in/out rule: Every time you buy something new get rid of something old. When I buy a new shirt, I throw out or donate an old shirt. When I buy a new pair of shoes, I throw out or donate an old pair of shoes.

Could I live out of a suitcase? In an end-of-the-world scenario, sure. But that's a bit extreme, IMHO. It's unlikely to ever be necessary. Instead of a small suitcase, my family lives in a small house, which forces us to get rid of things that have outlived their usefulness and to think twice about buying new things. Many people, due to social pressure I guess, buy much more house than they need and then feel compelled to fill it up with things they also don't need. Don't do that. If you downsize your house, you'll have to downsize your stuff.

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KlingKlang
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by KlingKlang » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:12 am

I've lived out of a suitcase for up to three months at a time when working overseas, but in those cases the hotels were providing laundry service, bedding, towels, soap. shampoo, and a coffee pot while company cafeterias and restaurants took care of the food preparation. To be truly minimalist I think that you would end up purchasing a lot more prepared goods and services - going out for coffee if you don't own a coffee maker.

I also have way too much of my stuff stored in our house. My mother-in-law recently moved out of her house so of course my wife had to bring half of her stuff home to store at our place (the greatest generation never wants to throw out ANYTHING). My grandmother made the people on the "Hoarders" TV show look like amateurs, house packed solid floor to ceiling. She brought home all of the clothes and stuff that people donated to her senior citizen center.

stoptothink
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by stoptothink » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:33 am

I essentially did live out of a suitcase for much of my adult life. I even went a year living in the 4th most populated city in the country without electricity, a car, any furniture, etc. (no, I wasn't homeless and it was done purposely...but I was finishing my PhD and simultaneously working full-time). Today, even as a married man with two young kids, outside of my beloved garage gym and other exercise accessories, I could fit all my personal possessions in probably two plastic bins. My wife and kids like their stuff, but they are still minimalist compared to most; even when the in-laws are living with us, our <1500sq. ft. home feel spacious and is too large for our liking. Just how I am wired, "stuff" makes me feel almost claustrophobic and constrained.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:39 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:52 am
I feel like as an average materialistic American, I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years and am now trying to declutter and keep only the essentials. I read a story about a couple that sold everything except a few suitcases and lived for extended periods around the world. It sounded frightening at the time but also very adventurous. Mild to moderate hoarding runs in both sides of my family.

1 How do you avoid this (accumulating clutter)?
2 what are your essential items that you would put in your suitcase?
3 Could you live out of a suitcase if you had to?
4 Would you even want to?
1. Buy only what is needed and minimizing what is "wanted". Discard and pass on what is no longer used or needed.
2. Clothes, lots of money. A fat wallet is the lightest luggage.
3. Yes, have done so.
4. If needed. Not a problem at all.

ivk5
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by ivk5 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:42 am

When my spouse was in grad school we went abroad for ~4 years bring only what we could carry (barely, admittedly) in a few suitcases, and rented a furnished apt. We put the rest in storage back home. We had everything we needed and more.

When we moved back and got everything out of storage, we were happy to be reunited with all our books and some of the kitchen gadgets/toys. (It wasn’t until another later move overseas that we actually had room for most of those, but that’s another story.) Apart from those things, basic furniture, and a few things of sentimental value, we felt pretty silly about much of the rest of our stuff. Having lived happily without it all for 4 years, we had no trouble pruning, though we did so gradually over the next 2 years.

Then we had a kid and of course ended up back in stuff accumulation mode, though the heightened sensitivity/awareness to thing-accumulation served us well and I think we resisted some of the worst excesses (also consistent with LBYM!)

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baconavocado
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by baconavocado » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:08 am

I think you would have a very uninteresting life if you could live out of a couple suitcases, and you would have to hire someone to do absolutely everything for you because you would have no tools or supplies to fix anything in your life. What sort of interests or hobbies do you have? Gardening? Cooking? Woodworking? Entertaining? Crafts? Bicycling? Hiking? Fishing? All of these things require equipment and supplies. With a couple suitcases, you could maybe do some reading and traveling, but that's about it.

I'm all for reducing needless clutter but I also don't want to be dependent on someone else for things I'm capable of doing myself, like taking care of my house, yard, and car; making my own coffee and cooking for myself; and pursuing my interests.

I can see that, more and more, everyone wants someone else to do everything for them. Nearly everyone in my neighborhood has a housekeeper and gardener. I think you would be challenged to find someone younger than 25 who knows how to make a cup of coffee, and of course, everyone eats out in restaurants constantly. That isn't a lifestyle that I want.

Caduceus
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by Caduceus » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:09 am

As someone who's gone through the decluttering process, I would say that you have to go through the process over time if you are going to make a lifestyle change.

One of the things that horrified me was just how much stuff I had bought without actually wanting/needing it. I must have donated 20 shirts and a few pants I bought but never wore. I was lugging around many bookcases of books that I realized made zero sense, because almost all books can be read over a Kindle now, eliminating the need for a hard copy, so I tossed/donated everything and kept only a small box of sentimental books with notes that people had left inside.

You have to do this exercise over time and learn from your previous consumption mistakes. I find that now I have a strong aversion to buying things.

I can definitely live out of a suitcase if you are talking about daily essentials. But as for non-essentials, I could not. I have a lot of sentimental family items that I have decided I do want to keep. Other than that, I own very little.

You could try freeing up space by focusing on the largest items first. Decluttering furniture and books is very gratifying because you can see the difference in your personal space fast. Decluttering papers is painful and slow. It takes forever, and after an entire weekend you might wonder if you've made any progress.

beardsworth
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by beardsworth » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:17 am

Alexa9 (original poster) wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:52 am
. . . I read a story about a couple that sold everything except a few suitcases and lived for extended periods around the world. It sounded frightening at the time but also very adventurous. . . .
Perhaps these?

http://www.homefreeadventures.com

And that search box at the top of the forum page can be your friend. Here are some previous Bogleheads threads about living minimalist:

https://www.google.com/search?sitesearc ... minimalist

moehoward
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by moehoward » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:23 am

My wife and I lived out of 1 backpack and 1 roller back per person for 6 months traveling Europe. Our roller bags were lost on a flight to Scilly and we spent 1 week without. We went to the local market and bought a few clothes and did fine. On our flight out, airline found bags. Both of us wondered, "what are we going to do with all this stuff..."

For those traveling as a minimalist, pack one pair of pants in your backpack. You can easily buy whatever you need but trying to find a pair of pants that fit, is another story.

stoptothink
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by stoptothink » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:30 am

baconavocado wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:08 am
I think you would have a very uninteresting life if you could live out of a couple suitcases, and you would have to hire someone to do absolutely everything for you because you would have no tools or supplies to fix anything in your life. What sort of interests or hobbies do you have? Gardening? Cooking? Woodworking? Entertaining? Crafts? Bicycling? Hiking? Fishing? All of these things require equipment and supplies. With a couple suitcases, you could maybe do some reading and traveling, but that's about it.

I'm all for reducing needless clutter but I also don't want to be dependent on someone else for things I'm capable of doing myself, like taking care of my house, yard, and car; making my own coffee and cooking for myself; and pursuing my interests.

I can see that, more and more, everyone wants someone else to do everything for them. Nearly everyone in my neighborhood has a housekeeper and gardener. I think you would be challenged to find someone younger than 25 who knows how to make a cup of coffee, and of course, everyone eats out in restaurants constantly. That isn't a lifestyle that I want.
I have a small orange toolcase, I do most of the "fixing" of our house, car, and our bikes (we bike as a family, a lot). The things we really enjoy doing (exercising, biking, hiking, camping) don't require a whole lot of stuff. Camping does, but in-laws on both sides have garages full of camping gear which in most cases has never even been taken out of the box (they bought it and store it, we use it). Where our "minimalism" comes in is having far less clothing than most (for me, not necessarily the wife), no "furniture" or random electronic gadget that doesn't have an everyday functional use (ie. there isn't a single nightstand, chest of drawers, bookcase, or extra table or chair that we don't use daily in our home, we have 1 TV), and only owning kitchen and housewares that we use virtually everyday (we don't own extra dishes and silverware just because someday we might have 20 people over - and we eat out literally never (as in 0 times a year for myself)), etc. If I actually need something I don't own, I can all but guarantee I have a neighbor or nearby family member who does that will let me borrow it.

Dottie57
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:35 am

I have quite a few things. I am not much of a traveler, but enjoy home very much.

I limit myself by having a small home (< 1000 sq ft). Not many places to stuff things.

I am currently cleaning out once again. Books, items I neverse , clothes, stereo system ( way to complicated and never use ).
Kitchen equipment never used.

stimulacra
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by stimulacra » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:49 am

I guess I could if I needed to. For most of human history we were nomadic, only carrying the things we needed from place to place. A couple of suit case worth would have been on the generous side.

The hard thing for me to give up would be my book collection.

I do enjoy the architect Le Corbusier's quote “A home is a machine for living in”. Clutter is gunk. It's good to clear out when you can.

GCD
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by GCD » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:57 am

It's one thing to travel for a few months out of a suitcase and quite another to become a full-time vagabond with only a suitcase full of personal goods. I've lived for months out of a backpack, but with many more possessions stored elsewhere. I second the opinion above that a suitcase is fine for travel, but most people have hobbies of some kind and need supplies to pursue their hobby.

I'm also a bibliophile and have a bunch of books that I am loathe to part with.

jmk
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by jmk » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:25 pm

My version of minimalism is more mild: don't buy anything to youthat doesn't add real "value" to your life. So if you can keep your tortillas warm with two places don't buy a special tortilla holder. If you have one good knife that does 80% of everything you don't buy twelves knives. Etc.

smitcat
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by smitcat » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:46 pm

Alexa9 wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:52 am
I feel like as an average materialistic American, I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years and am now trying to declutter and keep only the essentials. I read a story about a couple that sold everything except a few suitcases and lived for extended periods around the world. It sounded frightening at the time but also very adventurous. Mild to moderate hoarding runs in both sides of my family. How do you avoid this and what are your essential items that you would put in your suitcase? Could you live out of a suitcase if you had to? Would you even want to?
"Would you even want to?"
No thank you.

BanquetBeer
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by BanquetBeer » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:23 pm

We have a number of possessions, much less (at least dollar wise) than our peers. You need the basic stuff to get by in life and right now with babies/kids I have given up until they get a bit older. When I was a teenager I gave up on buying lots of possessions in part due to frugality (because I realized I seldom got the value equal to price from using items) and part because it seemed wasteful.

Traveling with an outfit or two (wash in the shower, quick dry so you can wear by morning) you learn to value experiences and social interaction. You also learn that some clothes you like and you don't need others or several pairs.

Some people are wired that they always need the exact tool for the job. Others enjoy the challenge of getting through life and just making due (day hike in the rain without rain gear). Typically when I want something I wait a while. Wanted an 80" TV for a few years now and I could go buy in cash tomorrow but would it really add $2-3k value to my life over the 60" I bought 7 years ago?

Someone made a comment about having to have tools/things to support hobbies but hobbies for the most part seem to be another way to collect things rather than enjoy experiences. (Biking was used as an example but I never met someone into biking that didnt have 2-4 different bikes, even of the same type.) The question I ask is why do you bike and why do you have these things? If you bike for exercise/time outside/see places - one easy to maintain bike will serve the same purpose and buying more is just collecting things. I have always had a good time when I loan tools/help to friends/neighbors or get help from them. Built this nice solid wood desk with tools from a neighbors (carpenter) woodshop for a bottle of booze and had fun doing it with them.

As a single person - lived several years very minimalist. As a family (with kids) it becomes hard. Just depends on where you brain has been wired to think happiness comes from - you can look at some of the studies on drug addicts (not saying anything bad, just only studies I read about on neural pathways); repeat behavior can build pathways in the brain.

sabtastic
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by sabtastic » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:24 pm

I think it all depends on your lifestyle. If you own a lot of property you are going to have a lot of stuff. If you have a large family, you are going to have a bunch of stuff. The idea is does the "stuff" own you? Growing up in suburbia, it was always comical to see families with garages full of old newspapers/garbage, but had the cars/lawn mower outside exposed to the elements... As long as something is useful and earns its keep there is nothing wrong with keeping it.

Personally I live in a one bedroom condo with two young children, so needless to say we only own the essentials. My kids also have more closet space than I do... :shock:

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TxAg
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by TxAg » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:27 pm

Rupert wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:11 am
Follow the in/out rule: Every time you buy something new get rid of something old. When I buy a new shirt, I throw out or donate an old shirt. When I buy a new pair of shoes, I throw out or donate an old pair of shoes.

Could I live out of a suitcase? In an end-of-the-world scenario, sure. But that's a bit extreme, IMHO. It's unlikely to ever be necessary. Instead of a small suitcase, my family lives in a small house, which forces us to get rid of things that have outlived their usefulness and to think twice about buying new things. Many people, due to social pressure I guess, buy much more house than they need and then feel compelled to fill it up with things they also don't need. Don't do that. If you downsize your house, you'll have to downsize your stuff.
Well said.

bhsince87
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by bhsince87 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:28 pm

I don't understand the downsize/minimize trend.

It seems to go against our innate survival instincts.

So, no, it's not for me.
Retirement: When you reach a point where you have enough. Or when you've had enough.

Calygos
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by Calygos » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:32 pm

bhsince87 wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:28 pm
I don't understand the downsize/minimize trend.

It seems to go against our innate survival instincts.

So, no, it's not for me.
Same can be said for losing weight, our bodies want to hold on to excess energy for times when food is scarce. Food is no longer scarce for many, like most on this board, I imagine, and neither are goods, so we can afford to live with less, with only those things that we feel add value to our lives since we know we can, in general, get anything we really need fairly easily these days.

Jags4186
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:36 pm

There’s a happy medium between having storage units, complaining that you 6000sqft house needs an additional sunroom, and deciding which of your dozen luxury watches you should wear tonight and sitting every night on your studio apartment floor while you stare at the wall lit only by the street lamp out the window.

stan1
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by stan1 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:44 pm

A big turning point for us was when we got rid of books. It took about 15 years but we are now down to less than 100 books of all types. There's a leap of faith relying on the internet instead. Another was when we realized we could get rid of hundreds of items we very seldom use, and if we did need to use them something could be used in its place. We got rid of dozens of kitchen implements accumulated over the years because we realized we could use a knife instead.

blinx77
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by blinx77 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:10 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:36 pm
There’s a happy medium between having storage units, complaining that you 6000sqft house needs an additional sunroom, and deciding which of your dozen luxury watches you should wear tonight and sitting every night on your studio apartment floor while you stare at the wall lit only by the street lamp out the window.
Well said. I'm very happy with our 2,100 sf house (plus 600 ft basement, tiny garage and shed, and attic with shelving). I can purchase things in bulk from Costco and store what I need but am not overwhelmed with clutter or maintenance.

I think for a long time in human history, people were so poor that more was always better. Now we are richer and need to be judicious in what we buy. A reasonable number of high-quality, well-maintained products works for me.

livesoft
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by livesoft » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:20 pm

Whenever we have moved a long distance, we made sure to research and hire the best moving companies with stellar reputations. Despite our due diligence every single mover lost lots of our possessions including an overseas move where the entire container of our belongings was stolen.

When you lose all your possessions a few times, you realize that you really don't need them. So we just collected the insurance money and did not re-buy.

In addition to the above, I have always enjoyed doing wilderness camping / backpacking / ski-camping totally off the grid. My "kit" is well dialed in and I just don't need more than about 15 pounds of "stuff" to live comfortably anywhere that I can get water, food, and fuel. In retirement, I will spend about 2 to 3 months of the year sleeping outdoors in a tent until it gets old.

I did post some rules of mine in an earlier discussion. Basically, I don't buy anything to bring in the house unless it eventually gets flushed down the toilet (food) or replaces an item or two already in the house. That is, I am no longer accumulating anything, but I am in equilibrium. I got the man-cave to prove it.
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livesoft
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by livesoft » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:24 pm

baconavocado wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:08 am
What sort of interests or hobbies do you have? Gardening? Cooking? Woodworking? Entertaining? Crafts?Bicycling? Hiking? Fishing? All of these things require equipment and supplies.
You exaggerate methinks. My neighbors have all kinds of things that they are willing to lend me as I am sure your neighbors do as well.

But yes, I don't have a lawnmower that fits in a suitcase, though it fits in the garage.
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blueman457
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by blueman457 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:44 pm

Buy a smaller home.

We've moved around the past few years (work, kid, etc...), and the smaller your home, the less space your realize you "need" and less space to hoard things. Could we live out of a suitcase right now? No. But if we were going to be nomads and travel for a year, could we do it, yes.

Blue man

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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:45 pm

Another poster mentions giving stuff away. I think that is positive and has helped me declutter, thinking that hopefully Goodwill can find something to do with my clutter.

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JoMoney
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by JoMoney » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:52 pm

baconavocado wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:08 am
I think you would have a very uninteresting life if you could live out of a couple suitcases, and you would have to hire someone to do absolutely everything for you because you would have no tools or supplies to fix anything in your life. What sort of interests or hobbies do you have? Gardening? Cooking? Woodworking? Entertaining? Crafts? Bicycling? Hiking? Fishing? All of these things require equipment and supplies. With a couple suitcases, you could maybe do some reading and traveling, but that's about it.

I'm all for reducing needless clutter but I also don't want to be dependent on someone else for things I'm capable of doing myself, like taking care of my house, yard, and car; making my own coffee and cooking for myself; and pursuing my interests.

I can see that, more and more, everyone wants someone else to do everything for them. Nearly everyone in my neighborhood has a housekeeper and gardener. I think you would be challenged to find someone younger than 25 who knows how to make a cup of coffee, and of course, everyone eats out in restaurants constantly. That isn't a lifestyle that I want.
I think reading, writing, and wondering can make for a very interesting life... Minimalist doesn't necessarily mean you don't have any gear though, but you likely make use of the "stuff" you have. I've gone golfing and fishing and rented gear, and also used someone elses (it's not something I do even once a year). I have a coffee maker, it gets used several times a day, but it cost <$20 and will get thrown away when I move.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

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fortfun
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by fortfun » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:59 pm

Alexa9 wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:52 am
I feel like as an average materialistic American, I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years and am now trying to declutter and keep only the essentials. I read a story about a couple that sold everything except a few suitcases and lived for extended periods around the world. It sounded frightening at the time but also very adventurous. Mild to moderate hoarding runs in both sides of my family. How do you avoid this and what are your essential items that you would put in your suitcase? Could you live out of a suitcase if you had to? Would you even want to?
Spending should be a little painful. Punch yourself every time you spend money. Remember how much time/energy it took you to make that money.
Cancel Amazon prime.
Cancel Costco, Sams, etc.
Do not go to Walmart, Target, etc. Unless for a very specific purpose.
Only regular shopping should be for groceries. Eat ALL of the food that you buy.
Avoid buying new clothes BUT buy GOOD shoes once per year (to avoid damage to feet).
Borrow as much stuff as you can--if you aren't going to use it frequently. Neighbors will loan you ladders, camping gear, etc. You can return the favor.
Use your local library for as much as you can.
Buy good cars (Toyota, etc.) and hold on to them forever.
Learn to cook. Eat out for special occasions only.
Learn how to fix your house, appliances, cars, etc. Take care of them.
Don't go overboard on xmas or birthday presents.
If you have a big house, consider renting out a room/basement.
Carpool, ride your bike, walk, and minimize driving.
Read: It's Your Money or Your Life.

We did a Europe trip for a month this summer. We each had a small back pack. I think it helped my kids understand how little stuff we really need. We all got a chuckle when we would see other people lugging around two giant suit cases for a much shorter trip.
Last edited by fortfun on Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

stoptothink
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by stoptothink » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:01 pm

BanquetBeer wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:23 pm

Someone made a comment about having to have tools/things to support hobbies but hobbies for the most part seem to be another way to collect things rather than enjoy experiences. (Biking was used as an example but I never met someone into biking that didnt have 2-4 different bikes, even of the same type.) The question I ask is why do you bike and why do you have these things? If you bike for exercise/time outside/see places - one easy to maintain bike will serve the same purpose and buying more is just collecting things. I have always had a good time when I loan tools/help to friends/neighbors or get help from them. Built this nice solid wood desk with tools from a neighbors (carpenter) woodshop for a bottle of booze and had fun doing it with them.
This is sort of a response, to my response to baconavocado; I didn't understand their post at all. Having little gear has zero association with having some sort of boring life. We are into biking; I am a former competitive cyclist and triathlete, wife is now a semi-competitive cyclist, I ride my bike almost everywhere I don't walk, and we cycle as a family at least 2x/week. After having points of my life where I owned 3 bikes, I now have one (there are 4 bikes for 4 people in our family, and our amount of "kit" is nonexistent) and the amount of tools it takes for me to do virtually all maintenance on our entire family's bikes fits in a single gallon-sized ziploc bag. The reality is, a ton of people's consumerist spending is on hobby/leisure activities that they think sounds cool, that they never really even get into. I don't for a second feel bad about taking advantage of my parents and in-laws thinking that camping sounded fun and then never actually doing it and my friends in the neighborhood buying tools thinking they would tinker with their cars.

Pigeon
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by Pigeon » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:38 pm

I'm in the happy medium camp. I'm in decluttering mode after having to clean out a few houses of elderly relatives who refused to do any downsizing or decluttering themselves. Not fun, and I'm not burdening my kids with that.

But I have no interest in living out of a suitcase, either. I hope to get our stuff pared down so that we can downsize into a smaller home easily when the time comes.

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aspirit
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by aspirit » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:50 pm

Some prefer their own pragmatically customized possessions, i'm one of them.
I prefer my bed to all others.
etc. :happy
Time & tides wait for no one. A man has to know his limitations.

matatupuncher
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by matatupuncher » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:01 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:01 pm
BanquetBeer wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:23 pm

Someone made a comment about having to have tools/things to support hobbies but hobbies for the most part seem to be another way to collect things rather than enjoy experiences. (Biking was used as an example but I never met someone into biking that didnt have 2-4 different bikes, even of the same type.) The question I ask is why do you bike and why do you have these things? If you bike for exercise/time outside/see places - one easy to maintain bike will serve the same purpose and buying more is just collecting things. I have always had a good time when I loan tools/help to friends/neighbors or get help from them. Built this nice solid wood desk with tools from a neighbors (carpenter) woodshop for a bottle of booze and had fun doing it with them.
This is sort of a response, to my response to baconavocado; I didn't understand their post at all. Having little gear has zero association with having some sort of boring life. We are into biking; I am a former competitive cyclist and triathlete, wife is now a semi-competitive cyclist, I ride my bike almost everywhere I don't walk, and we cycle as a family at least 2x/week. After having points of my life where I owned 3 bikes, I now have one (there are 4 bikes for 4 people in our family, and our amount of "kit" is nonexistent) and the amount of tools it takes for me to do virtually all maintenance on our entire family's bikes fits in a single gallon-sized ziploc bag. The reality is, a ton of people's consumerist spending is on hobby/leisure activities that they think sounds cool, that they never really even get into. I don't for a second feel bad about taking advantage of my parents and in-laws thinking that camping sounded fun and then never actually doing it and my friends in the neighborhood buying tools thinking they would tinker with their cars.
At the risk of "derailing" this thread, you can put a headset press, torque wrench, and chain whip in a ziplock bag? :happy

randomguy
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by randomguy » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:19 pm

BanquetBeer wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:23 pm

Someone made a comment about having to have tools/things to support hobbies but hobbies for the most part seem to be another way to collect things rather than enjoy experiences. (Biking was used as an example but I never met someone into biking that didnt have 2-4 different bikes, even of the same type.) The question I ask is why do you bike and why do you have these things? If you bike for exercise/time outside/see places - one easy to maintain bike will serve the same purpose and buying more is just collecting things. I have always had a good time when I loan tools/help to friends/neighbors or get help from them. Built this nice solid wood desk with tools from a neighbors (carpenter) woodshop for a bottle of booze and had fun doing it with them.
So what is this one bike that is good for going for a 100 mile ride, do a 10 mile time trial, going down a mountain or cruising around town? Only having one bike sure seems to limit the experiences I can have.

Yes for things you don't plan on doing a lot, renting is a fine way of going. For things that are a fundamental part of your life, not so much. And honestly the amount of time minimalist think about stuff is alarming. I would rather spend that time having experiences.:) But then again I am also not a hoarder with a bunch of stuff that I don't use. That stuff was thrown away many moves ago. Most of the hard core ones you read about are people that go to extremes in everything they do.

Green Street
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by Green Street » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:20 pm

The things you own end up owning you.
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randomguy
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by randomguy » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:25 pm

Green Street wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:20 pm
The things you own end up owning you.
From what I can tell, this just isn't true. It sounds really pithy and smart but when you think about it the things that own you are your experiences, not the things you own. See the great depression generation for an example of how experiences not material goods affected the mental outset of a generation. Or the effect of going to vietnam (or being a draft dodger) versus that car you bought. Obviously we are talking in generalities and not specific individuals. There are a lot of people with unhealthy relationships with material goods and both ends of the spectrum. Up to you to figure out if you are in that group or not.

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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by stimulacra » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:45 pm

randomguy wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:25 pm
Green Street wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:20 pm
The things you own end up owning you.
From what I can tell, this just isn't true. It sounds really pithy and smart but when you think about it the things that own you are your experiences, not the things you own. See the great depression generation for an example of how experiences not material goods affected the mental outset of a generation. Or the effect of going to vietnam (or being a draft dodger) versus that car you bought. Obviously we are talking in generalities and not specific individuals. There are a lot of people with unhealthy relationships with material goods and both ends of the spectrum. Up to you to figure out if you are in that group or not.
Sounded cool in “Fight Club”.

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JoMoney
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by JoMoney » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:07 am

stimulacra wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:45 pm
randomguy wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:25 pm
Green Street wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:20 pm
The things you own end up owning you.
From what I can tell, this just isn't true. It sounds really pithy and smart but when you think about it the things that own you are your experiences, not the things you own. See the great depression generation for an example of how experiences not material goods affected the mental outset of a generation. Or the effect of going to vietnam (or being a draft dodger) versus that car you bought. Obviously we are talking in generalities and not specific individuals. There are a lot of people with unhealthy relationships with material goods and both ends of the spectrum. Up to you to figure out if you are in that group or not.
Sounded cool in “Fight Club”.
If you're working to pay off debts for stuff you bought on credit, or rent on a storage locker for stuff you don't use but can't seem to throw away, then it's at least a reasonable question.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

lynneny
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by lynneny » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:10 am

I'm currently an extremely reluctant minimalist.

Next month, I'm retiring to Latin America from a HCOL area I can't afford to stay in without a job. It would be insanely expensive to ship most of my two-bedroom apartment there, and some of it's unsuited to a tropical climate anyway (winter clothes, wool rugs, wood furniture that would warp in the sweltering humidity or get eaten by termites, etc). Plus I'll rent a furnished place for a least a year before buying, so would have nowhere to put my stuff.

The decluttering I did before selling my apartment felt good. But now I'm paring ruthlessly, to get down to four big suitcases I'll take on the plane (or maybe five; I keep buying more), and half a dozen boxes I'll FedEx and hope the customs gods let them through. And I hate it. I'm getting rid of the treasures and memories of a lifetime. My grandmother's century-old wedding china. My mother's silver. My books. And all the other things, acquired over a lifetime of living in many places, that all came together and made my house a home.

Friends try to cheer me up by saying "Think of all the shopping you can do when you get there!" That doesn't console me now, but they're probably right. Odds are I won't be a minimalist for long. (I should add: Overall I'm happy about this move to a country I love, but getting rid of most of my stuff is hitting me harder than I expected).

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randomizer
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by randomizer » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:33 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:52 am
How do you avoid this and what are your essential items that you would put in your suitcase? Could you live out of a suitcase if you had to? Would you even want to?
I am a huge fan of minimalism but it is something to ease into over a number of years. I wouldn't go straight for the suitcase-lifestyle, but I'd start with small things like repairing broken items rather than replacing them with new ones, borrowing items rather than buying them, and so on. After a while it actually becomes quite a pleasant feeling to feel an urge to acquire something, resist it, and watch the urge subside and then disappear.
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IowaFarmBoy
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:50 am

DW and I like to garage sale. It always amazes me how much stuff some people have to sell. And it is all stuff that they good money for and now are willing to unload for ten cents on the dollar. My favorite was the family that was selling around 50 sweatshirts with various college logos. Those things don't come cheap. I can't image how you end up with that many.

randomguy
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by randomguy » Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:59 am

JoMoney wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:07 am

If you're working to pay off debts for stuff you bought on credit, or rent on a storage locker for stuff you don't use but can't seem to throw away, then it's at least a reasonable question.
Is there any difference between the debt from an experience and the debt from buying a material possession? Is the person with 50k of law school debt from the year they attended before dropping out in a different spot than the person that spent 50k on a car?

If your material possessions are preventing you from living how you want to, then you should rearrange your live. Getting rid of stuff you like just so you can say you don't own anything always seemed a bit odd to me.

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JoMoney
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by JoMoney » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:20 am

randomguy wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:59 am
... Getting rid of stuff you like just so you can say you don't own anything always seemed a bit odd to me.
If you were giving up things you actually like, and that was your rationale, that would be odd.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

AerialWombat
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by AerialWombat » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:37 am

After the 2007-08 real estate crash, in which I went bankrupt, I spent almost a year living in a van (yes, down by a river). A few years later, I would spend three years traveling the world, living out of a 20L pack.

Today, despite being newly “affluent”, I have very little by American standards. I recently moved 1200 miles with just my car and the tiniest U-Haul trailer they make. I live in a 4-bedroom house, three of which are utterly devoid of anything but dust.

Point being that you need very little, and accumulation is a choice. No need to be OCD anti-hoarder like some of us, but it’s still a choice.

drg02b
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by drg02b » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:34 am

AerialWombat wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:37 am
I live in a 4-bedroom house, three of which are utterly devoid of anything but dust.
So you don't even own a mop. :P

I'm in the process of selling my house to take a year off for travel. Have always considered myself closer to minimalism, but starting to realize how much stuff I have accumulated.

mak1277
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by mak1277 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:16 am

I don't know why anyone would volunteer to live like a homeless person, so my answers are - no, I have no desire to be minimalist and I would never choose to live out of a suitcase.

moehoward
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Re: Minimalist Lifestyle

Post by moehoward » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:17 am

stan1 wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:44 pm
A big turning point for us was when we got rid of books. It took about 15 years but we are now down to less than 100 books of all types. There's a leap of faith relying on the internet instead. Another was when we realized we could get rid of hundreds of items we very seldom use, and if we did need to use them something could be used in its place. We got rid of dozens of kitchen implements accumulated over the years because we realized we could use a knife instead.
I think you summarize this thread well. Its not all or nothing, but maybe somewhere in the middle for most folks. Books were the first thing we downsized which made it easier to to tackle other possessions. Most of your "stuff" you don't need and easily purchased (usually very cheap) from online stores. Google copied off all the classics which are readily available.

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