Becoming Minimalist

December 2012

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 buy 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.

No phone

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

This applies to all kinds of relationship.

Buy one, get rid of one

I keep the number of items I own constant. For example, if I need to buy a new t-shirt, I need to donate an old one.

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 been working great for me, a 30 year-old professional 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.