Before I left Amsterdam to live in San Francisco for three months with my friend Jim in December of 2011, I sub-let my room and packed up all my stuff in about 8 moving boxes.
When I came back in April of 2012, I only unpacked 1 box which consisted of stuff like my keyboard, mouse and some university and tax documents which I needed right away.
The other 7 boxes were stored in the back of my house and last week I unpacked them and threw 5 boxes out. It was all stuff I did not really need. I’m left with 2 boxes now. 1 box is the nostalgia box, with stuff that goes back to when I was a kid. Just little bits for the sake of memories. The other box contains a lot of hard drives of backups that go back ten years.
Other stuff I threw out is my bed frame to replace it with just a mattress on the floor. I put it vertically when I’m not sleeping it saves space. It also appears to be better for some people’s backs, some physicians say.
So my room now has a dresser with just a few shirts and pants, not much, a closet with small stuff like pens and tax paper, a table with two screens and two speakers on it and a keyboard and a mouse. Oh and a chair of course. But that’s about it.
I love it.
I am becoming an addict of this lifestyle. It’s reverse hoarding. I know it must be latest trendy hipster thing to do, so I might just be a trend whore here. But it also might be a more sustainable lifestyle choice than just a trend since it has functional benefits of saving space, time and money. It saves space which clears your head a bit. It saves time since you’re not constantly distracted by looking at or toying with old stuff. It saves money since you actually really don’t want to buy any more stuff anymore since it would fill your room up again.
Apart from the obvious survival needs like food and drinks, the only things I like to spend money on now are functional objects or experiences. Functional objects I have include a camera to shoot music videos with and a computer to, well, make stuff with. Experiences include traveling or going out with friends (both of which I don’t do enough yet).
It’s difficult to only spend money on those because like most people I get these regular insurmountable urges to buy stuff. For me, it’s about every 2 weeks and it’s mostly electronics stuff. Like I’d love to have a MacBook Air, but do I need it now? No, I’m mostly working at home on my computer that is by far good enough. If I’m doing live music shows in the future I might need it. But I am in fact doing a lot of visual work, so I’d really need a 27″ LED screen to replace my dual-monitor 19″ set up that’s like 7 years old now, right? Well, not really. The screens still work fine. Fuck. I guess. Materialism. I often let myself go to the order page on the store websites, put the product in the cart and move on to the payment page. And then I close the page. The rush of buying something I already get seems to be what I am really looking for, not so much getting the actual product.
I’ve put my iPad on eBay since it’s just another thing that is keeping me from doing my work, and especially keeping me from sleeping at night.
I might be going too far with this, but I’ll figure that out in a few years. Trend or not, I like this minimalist living. I was surprised to see that somebody likes it even more than me though and that was my good friend Mr. Savings Account.
P.S. I'm writing a book on bootstrapping startups called MAKE, which you can pre-order now. And I'm now on Instagram and Twitter too if you'd like to follow more of my adventures. I don't use email so tweet me your questions.
I love minimalist living