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Extreme Minimalism

by Colleen P Moyne (Colmo) (follow)
I'm a freelance writer living in the beautiful river town of Mannum in SA, dreaming of the day I can retire from the 9-5 to write full time.
Happiness (237)      Attitude (155)      Control (58)      Letting Go (22)      Declutter (20)      Freedom (18)     

Empty Room with Open Door
Image credit Master Isolated Images / Freedigitalphotos.net

I read an article some time back about a young man who had pared his belongings down to just fifteen things. Everything that he owned fitted neatly into a regular-sized backpack, including his clothing and shoes. He said that he had never felt so free. He spent his life travelling and blogging.

Empty Room with Open Door
Image credit Imagerymajestic / Freedigitalphotos.net

This got me thinking about everything that I own. I have often referred to myself as a minimalist because I own only basic furniture and very few knick-knacks. I also own very few appliances and gadgets, but I certainly have many more than fifteen items.

After thinking about it for a while and taking a wander around my house, I've come up with a list of fifteen possessions that I couldn't – or wouldn't - live without, (not counting the roof over my head or my dog, who is more of a companion than a possession.) This is a good exercise for us all to do.

Empty Room with Open Door
Image credit David Castillo Dominici / Freedigitalphotos.net

Here’s my list:

1. Bed
2. Quilt
3. Car
4. Laptop
5. Phone
6. ATM Card
7. Glasses
8. Toothbrush
9. Soap
10. Towel
11. Jeans
12. T-Shirt
13. Shoes
14. Knickers
15. Jacket

Empty Room with Open Door
Image credit Stockimages / Freedigitalphotos.net

Of course, this list is somewhat unrealistic given that I would be rattling around in an almost empty house and my family would think I've gone completely mad. I also have to meet a certain dress code in my job so I need to own more clothing than that. It would also mean that I would be spending a lot more money on things like eating out or take-away. Add to that some basic comforts like deodorant, hair-brush, make-up, a washing machine, an iron – and the list gets bigger and bigger.

A quick count of my bookshelves reveals that I own about three hundred books and I don’t think I’d want to part with any of them, or my hundred or so CD’s, or any of the gifts that family and friends have given me over the years.

Pile of Books
Image credit Surachai / Freedigitalphotos.net

Minimalism isn't about fanatical purging of our possessions, or about depriving ourselves of pleasurable things. OK, I admit that I own a lot of books, but I treasure every one of them. They’re not hidden in boxes under the bed or stored in the garage. They’re proudly displayed in my living room as part of the décor.

Pile of Books
Image credit Phiseksit / Freedigitalphotos.net

Minimalism means only owning things that you need or love, and about treating those things with the respect they deserve. If there comes a time when you feel that your possessions are becoming a burden, then maybe a little purging is needed, but the key here is knowing where to draw the line.

# Happiness
# Attitude
# Control
# Freedom
# Letting Go
# Declutter
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