In our twenties, we’re bound to experience life without the majority of our worldly possessions eventually, whether it’s because we’re living in a dorm room, traveling the world, or in a dainty apartment with barely enough room to get away with owning a hamster. Much of this is out of necessity, and someday we move out of the dorm, come back from the airport, or find incredibly clever ways to fill every nook and cranny of our first place. But what if we don’t want to do this? What if the thought of being surrounded by stuff sends chills down your spine and you don’t want to give up the freedom that comes with owning so little?
If this strikes a chord with you but you feel trepidation about embarking on something so outside the norm, let this be a comfort to you: you’re not the first. Whether you’re single or a valued member of a family unit, someone has done it before, and many of them are happy to share their experience. The website ManvsDebt.com chronicles the tale of a young family who sold everything they owned and traveled the world, and continue to live minimally today. Dave Bruno literally wrote the book on paring down your possessions. “When you simplify your life,” Dave said, “it opens up room — not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually.”
This movement enfolds everyone from young entrepreneurs to grandmothers, and it’s quickly gaining momentum. We could all use a little more peace and simplicity in our lives. For the past six months, after making a cross-country move, I’ve been living with extended family and without the majority of my possessions. I did a massive purge over the last few years, so what remains is precious to me and I look forward to unearthing my treasures from their cardboard box homes in the not too distant future, but living with less has given me the mental space I needed to do some well-earned soul searching.
If you’d like to try living a more minimal life, there’s a few options you can explore (if you live with others, some of these options require more compromise):
- Go the Consumed route and put all your possessions, except for living essentials and ten non-essential items, in a locker for four weeks. See how you like living without before committing long-term.
- Do your own 100 Thing Challenge; check out Dave’s book for inspiration.
- Move beyond your possessions to the rest of your life: maybe it’s time to work at your dream job and get by on less.
- Julie Morgenstern’s SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life is the perfect resource if you want to clear the clutter (mental and physical) but have trouble going through with it. You won’t get rid of anything that’s precious to you and you’ll make room for what is, and what’s yet to come.
What will you do to live a more minimal life? I’d love to hear about your own experiences!