14 months ago my pursuit for extreme minimalism has begun. I sold everything I owned and ended my studio lease in downtown Vancouver. No car, no bike, no TV, no couch, no bills. All I got left with was a luggage full of clothes and a backpack with my laptop. I can't describe the pleasure I got from cancelling my car insurance with ICBC and my phone contract with Fido.
During this last 14 months, one thing was very clear. The less stuff I owned, the happier I got. I started living out of a backpack that's smaller than the average high-school backpack and had the opportunity of living in 4 different countries.
I developed some personal rules to live a simpler life:
Wants vs needs test
In order to separate needs from wants, I ask this simple question every time I'm buying something: Would I buy it again if I lose it? If no, don't buy it.
One hand test
I don't buy anything that I can't carry with one hand.
I haven't had a landline or mobile phone service for last 4 months and it's been great. I own an iPhone but I don't have a phone service. "Phones will soon no longer do the phone part of equation" (The End of the Phone Is Nigh)
No relationship is better than a bad relationship
It's possible to be single and happy.
Buy one, get rid of one
For example, if I need to buy a new t-shirt, I need to donate an old one. Therefore, the number of items I own stays constant.
These all helped me unclutter my life and become happier. But is it sustainable? How long can I live like this?
I don't know the answer but so far it's working great for me, a 30 year-old without kids and a 9-5 job. I believe this lifestyle is possible in all stages of your life as long as you adopt the mentality and make modifications to suit your conditions.