we are always looking for stories of everyday folks who have decided to begin living a minimalist life. we find the stories inspiring and enjoy sharing them with others for inspiration as well.
recently, ian shared his story with us:
My name is Ian and I am an evolving minimalist. I’d spent my years growing up in a tiny pre-war bungalow, a member of a family of four. My parents are packrats. Always have been, always will be. What little floorspace remained within the household seemed perpetually encroached upon by the accumulation of “stuff” over the years. Novelties, doodads, knick-knacks and trinkets. Both my parents had grown up in large families without much in the way of luxury or access. Thus, as they’d explained to me, growing up with nothing made one appreciate the value of everything. The thing of it is, I’d never gleaned much value in the things kept about the house that I was forever tripping over, stumbling upon and eventually, throwing by the curbside. A lot of these items seemed cheap in manufacture, pre-packaged, quickly obsolescent or disposable. Very much Ikea, very much Dollar Store. The longstanding items that stuffed our rafters were seldom anything redeemable in my eyes. Few things I’d ever identified with or have explained to me as being purposeful or utilitarian such as tools, textbooks or something of at least sentimental value.
My eyes were opened in the autumn of 2005. A trip was planned amongst friends to travel to Europe to play a paintball tournament in Spain. It didn’t take long for the schedule to evolve beyond the scope of the tournament itself. Eight of us planned to backpack Europe for many weeks beforehand. France, Holland, Germany, Italy and the end result being the event itself in Spain. The logistics required and the fact that we were to be completely self reliant made me realize the value of “less is more”. That understanding also manifested itself in the fact that I’d returned from that adventure without any souveniers whatsoever, save for the gift of a beer stein from a night spent in Bavaria celebrating Oktoberfest with the locals. I couldn’t care less about bringing home any t-shirts, post cards or bumpers stickers. I came away from the adventure with a lot of photographs, stories and fond memories with friends.
From that point onward, I’ve taken the “less is more” mentality to heart and found much satisfaction. I’m somewhat of a nomad within my own city of one million. I’ve moved four times in five years and I’ve noticed that with each successive relocation, my collection of “stuff” has grown considerably smaller. At this point in time, I am literally in possession of fewer items than can be stuffed in the back of a cube van and I couldn’t be happier or more fulfilled. My friends and family call me “picky” in many facets of life. I prefer the term “discerning”. I am by no means an impulse buyer or “cheap”. Any intended purchase of significant value is researched, evaluated, test driven and negotiated. I am not a person who likes to waste time or money and have never had any qualms about spending a considerable amount of cash on an item of redeeming value and quality construction. This notion extends to everything from the safety razor in my bathroom to the Subaru in my driveway.
“You can’t take it with you” and even if you could, where would you put it?
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