Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of articles about eliminating clutter and moving towards a minimalist lifestyle. That’s something I’ve been trying to do (with varying levels of success) for a few years now.
Of course, when you have the experience of living in a van for 4 months, you get used to only having the most basic of necessities.
I’m hoping to reach the point where I own so little stuff that I could pack it into a car and move to L.A. tomorrow if I wanted. I don’t plan to do that anytime soon, but I love the idea of having that freedom.
When I moved to Chicago two years ago, I wasn’t quite there. It took two full van loads to transport everything. Currently, everything I own fits into a small bedroom. But that’s still not good enough. I need to be more mobile!
There are two big things for me that are hard to eliminate: Outdated electronic media and clothes. By outdated electronic media, I mean CDs, VHS tapes, and even cassette tapes. I have a lot of good stuff saved on VHS and cassette that I don’t want to get rid of, so I have to transfer this crap to digital.
I’m making the effort… I finally bought a cord to transfer my cassettes and some doohickey from Amazon that is supposed to convert my VHS tapes to digital. But neither worked, so I’m back to square one. And it would have taken weeks to transfer everything anyway. I seriously need an intern!
My collection of CDs is down to approximately 200. I’ve sold off around 100 on eBay over the past year, but I still have a bunch left that either won’t sell or are too special to toss out.
I gave myself a strict limit of 100 CDs that I’m allowed to keep, and even that is proving to be a hard number hard to get down to. I could transfer all of the music to digital files, but that would also take weeks, and again, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
As far as clothing, while living in the van I only had about seven tshirts and was fine with it, but now, I have at least 40 in my room and I can’t bring myself to get rid of any. Some are athletic shirts for when I play volleyball, some are skinny shirts that fit well when I lose a couple pounds, some are awesome thrift store finds (like a vintage ’80s Denver Nuggets tshirt) that I don’t wear all the time – just when I want to be seen.
Pants and shoes are the same way. I have at least 20 pairs of each. I need to discover a better strategy for accepting life with fewer clothes. But I can’t – I won’t – sacrifice fashion!
Aside from these odd niche items, I think I am pretty minimalist… I have a tv but I rarely use it so that is expendable. I don’t have a vehicle, although that decision was not by choice. I’m still on the slow path towards the ultimate goal of “owning less stuff.”
Are you trying to eliminate clutter in your life?