On Minimalism


I’m cleaning out childhood memories. Old art school projects. Holy panties. Things I don’t need.

I’m leaving in less than a week to go back to the Philippines, then Thailand, but in the mean time, I want to get rid of crap at my parents house. I’ve been a pack rat for way too long… and my coach says clearing out the clutter is good for manifesting abundance… clearing space.

I don’t have storage units. I just have boxes in my parent’s garage, an overflowing closet in my childhood room, everything still in tact. I leave my stuff in places and home bases. I still have a suitcase full in Cebu, where I’ll be going to visit family again by the first week of September. I still have loads of books and clothes, an expired Philippines passport I don’t need since my US passport is better, rain boots with polka dots and my favorite, almost brand new hiking shoes, and random odds and ends in Manila. I’ll probably never get that back because I left that life behind and abruptly ended a relationship.

Other than the messes I leave, I think I could be a minimalist. I pack light. I know how to live off a suitcase. When I knew I was going to be traveling and moving to Asia over three years ago, I got rid of furniture, an XBox360 I won, my guitar, a djembe, one (of two) of my violins… My room was sparse and I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor. It’s probably the cleanest I’ve ever been. That whole year living with roommates, even when I wasn’t preparing to move, was the cleanest time of my life. If you want to stay clean (and by that I mean tidy), just get rid of crap and clutter and stop acquiring any. I left a house and mortgage and discovered my crap was very little compared to my ex. And separating out what was “mine” and “his” looked a little bit unfairly all “his”.

I’d love to live in a tiny house. Some “alternative” living space. Small spaces and modular designs. A treehouse. A hobbit house. I’d love it.

I hate the idea of acquiring furniture. I want my life to fit in as little as a suitcase, with a few boxes here and there for good measure. I like living 2-3 years at a time in one place, and then moving on. It had been 3 years in the Philippines, and it had been 3 years in my past life and relationship too. My concept of life is temporary and I don’t like the process of acquiring. Rather, I love the process of letting go. Life isn’t immortal anyway. Not this tangible life. But maybe our souls.

Maybe someday, I could have my own library, and all my books displayed, outside of their crummy boxes, but for now, I love the semi-nomadic life. And I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.

30 day challenge

Could you live a minimalist lifestyle? Why or why not? OR What does minimalism mean to you in the context of your ideal lifestyle?

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at janet@byjanet.net to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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  • Lynn Fang

    Sort of. But I would love to stay in one place for a while to grow roots. I would love to travel, but a place to call home and commit to for some time, to get acquainted with, grow community, and build something lasting, sounds good to me. I am minimalist in the way that I only invite things that make me feel excited, inspired, that I LOVE, or that are incredibly useful. I’m not an ultra-minimalist, just ultra conscious about my purchasing decisions. There are childhood tokens I might never get rid of, just because trips down memory lane can be fun, soul-filling, and unite me with my family when I might not have seen the connection. They also serve to remind me that yes, this child I once was, she is still with me, and I am still that child. Thanks for the reflection!

  • http://www.vishnusvirtues.com/ Vishnu

    J – I could. Heck, I think I am and always have practiced minimalism.

    Most of my life I’ve preferred to travel light, have the most minimal number of things and throw a lot of junk away. I’m 100% with your coach. The more we get rid of in our lives, the more we can allow in. Sometimes, things make us have to think about those things, be responsible for them and spend our energy on them. If we get stuff out of our lives which we literally do not use, see or touch, we’ll just be more liberated and open to bringing in new experiences, events, people into our lives. I regularly travel overseas to the annoyance of family with just 1 backpack or often with just 1 carry-on duffle bag. This way, the amount of stuff I shop for or acquire over there is limited.

  • http://simplebyte.net/ Sanjeev Sapkota

    Hi Janet, am heaing out to Philippines today. Will be spending more time in Manila though. Would definitely be nice to see web guys / girls there. I too have couple of web projects to complete while on the road.

    Any suggestions ?

    • Janet

      Hi Sanjeev, you can work online as long as you have internet/wifi connection. I utilize tools on the cloud like dropbox, etc. I’m not sure where to meet web guys in the Philippines. Try joining groups on Facebook or LinkedIn? There are always ways to network online that can be beneficial offline!

  • Angela Artemis

    I love the idea of living with less stuff.

    I sold my home three years ago and have all of it in storage. Just recently I was thinking how I don’t care about any of it except for a few things like my books and an antique chair I got from an aunt I was really close to. I would love to sell it all and start over…..and be free!

    I also love your idea about living in a place for a few years then moving on. Although I never did it I have thought about it too. I would love to live in Europe….Spain, Greece and Italy appeal to me very much.

    Ah, someday….

  • Tammy

    I am a minimalist. Everything I own fits in a single suitcase and one large duffel bag. I even wrote a book, “Let it Go: Clear Your Clutter, Free Your Spirit”, about the process of releasing “stuff”! Right now my financial situation does not even permit me to rent a single room, so having next to nothing is not just a choice, but a necessity.

  • http://stankavich.com Mike Stankavich

    We moved our family of four from Malaysia back to US in 4 checked bags. A few trips to Costco and Ikea later we are all good, living in a 700 sf apartment and not wanting anything bigger.

    As for books, Kindle on iPhone or Android is a game changer. I usually do end up with a few paper books when I live somewhere for a while, but when I move I give them all away.