When to be Minimalist

There is a time to be explore the world and being minimalist is an advantage. You don’t worry too much when you find you have to move at a moment’s notice. There is also a time when you want to settle and build your life. You shake your head and chuckle when you read posts about being minimalistic for life.

You should only do things when they are improving your life. At a certain point, deciding not to get a nice big plasma screen or fancy frilly pillows because you would own over 100 items becomes obsessive.

I spent about 4 years owning 250 things or less. From my graduation date in 2014 to 2018, I spent less than a year in any one location.

Starting from my graduation in Boston, I brought all my possessions and lived at least a month on and off at the following places:

  • A spare bedroom at a cofounder’s parents house in New Jersey
  • Under a girlfriend’s bunk bed in a dorm at Stanford
  • An apartment in Silicon Valley
  • A room in East Palo Alto airbnb
  • A 2001 Toyota Corolla Car
  • A stranger’s bed in Portland
  • A room in an airbnb in Seattle
  • Back to the 2001 Toyota Corolla Car
  • A friend’s floor in Palo Alto
  • An entire 2 bedroom airbnb in Brooklyn
  • A tiny room in a friend’s Brooklyn apartment
  • A big room in the same friend’s Brooklyn apartment
  • A cofounder’s couch in downtown Hong Kong
  • A girlfriend’s place in Brooklyn
  • An office floor near Telegraph Bay, Hong Kong
  • A tiny airbnb in Kennedy Town, Hong Kong

I tried to show show a map of my moving, but Hong Kong really throws off everything. This map captures how I felt at the time though.

Crazy ma

 

In case you were wondering what sleeping on an office floor was like in Hong Kong, we set up a pretty nice air mattress. As far as Hong Kong goes, it was nicer than most places you could get. It also unfortunately had 3 transparent glass walls so I had to stack items up along them so they would not realize I was sleeping there.

 

Hong Kong Office Floor

 

It was much better than the $1000 USD/month airbnb I got later. That one had what I could only describe as a shower toilet. The shower was directly above and pointed directly at the toilet bowl. Very efficient use of space if nothing else.

Tiny airbnb in Hong Kong Shower Toilet

 

I had heard about owning 100 things before and wanted to count up how many things I own. I never paid all that much attention to the number of things I owned as long as it fit in my giant duffel bag. I was always really attentive at throwing out things I never use though.

 

It turned out I had 250 items. This would have been a lot less if I didn’t sometimes live in cold places or want to be semi-fashionable or didn’t have hobbies like swimming and filmmaking.

Minimalist photo 1

 

101 items pictured — left to right from the top

  • 2 stretch bands
  • 1 macbook
  • 1 macbook charger
  • 2 books (join me and satiristas)
  • 1 bag for swim stuff
  • 1 android phone charger
  • 1 android phone
  • 1 small lock
  • 1 thick lock
  • 1 kitty calendar book
  • 1 kindle
  • 1 kindle case
  • 1 mad magazine mousepad
  • 1 pair of swim goggles
  • 1 waterproof mp3 player
  • 1 bottle of tylenol
  • 1 sunscreen spray bottle
  • 1 sunscreen lotion
  • 1 lacrosse ball
  • 2 pairs of headphones
  • 1 pair of headphones with iPhone x jack
  • 1 squishy basketball (I always have 1 random toy and change what it is)
  • 4 power converters
  • 2 chapsticks
  • 1 trimmer
  • 1 trimmer charger and cable
  • 1 face lotion
  • 1 face soap
  • 1 face sunscreen lotion
  • 1 picture of me and a friend
  • 1 jack to iPhone x converter
  • 1 tiny notebook
  • 1 sim card converter kit
  • 1 5tb backup
  • 1 5tb backup cable
  • 2 keychains
  • 1 gaming mouse
  • 1 gaming mouse box
  • 1 deck of cards
  • 1 plastic bag for soap
  • 1 travel shampoo
  • 1 travel conditioner
  • 1 plastic bag for public transportation and membership cards
  • 14 membership and public transportation cards
  • 3 plastic bags
    • 1 extra
    • tiny screwdriver
    • foreign change
  • 1 water bottle
  • 2 plastic bags
    • – toothbrush
    • – toothpaste
  • 1 nail clipper
  • 1 extra toothed paste
  • 2 floss
  • 1 deodorant
  • 1 small packing cube
  • 2 face towels
  • 1 toothbrush
  • 1 toothpaste
  • 1 tictacs
  • 1 wallet with cash and daily cards (credit cards and transportation)
  • 14 credit cards and transportation
  • 1 iPhone x
  • 1 iPhone x case
  • 2 pens (1 black and 1 multicolor)

 

 

Minimalist photo 2

 

91 items pictured —left to right from the top

  • 1 winter coat
  • 1 rainproof jacket
  • 1 towel 2 workout pants
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 shorts
  • 2 jeans
  • 1 belt
  • 2 laundry bags
  • 1 backpack
  • 1 pair of gym shoes
  • 1 hoodie
  • 1 dress up shirt
  • 1 button short sleeve shirt
  • 1 long sleeve shirt
  • 1 weird hoodie shirt hybrid thing
  • 1 giant duffel bag with backpack straps
  • 6 t-shirts
  • 1 large packing cube (for shirts)
  • 3 medium packing cubes
    • wet stuff (like a towel/swimsuit)
    • stuff I rarely use (medicine, converters)
    • stuff that could break and spill on everything else (sun screen, shampoo)
  • 10 boxer briefs
  • 25 white socks
  • 26 black socks

Minimalist Photo 3

 

These items were in my temporary bag. I sometimes brought it with me, but sometimes I left it all at friend’s places or in storage while I lived somewhere else.

58 items pictured —left to right from the top
  • 1 camera bag
  • 1 outdoor shotgun mic cover
  • 1 outdoor shotgun mic cover box
  • 1 camera
  • 1 lens
  • 1 lens bag
  • 1 tripod
  • 1 tripod bag
  • 1 giant plastic bag
  • 1 camera bag strap
  • 1 lav mic
  • 1 omni mic
  • 1 led light
  • 1 led light cover set
  • 1 hard sd card case
  • 1 plastic bag (for sd cards)
  • 4 sd card holders
  • 1 shotgun mic
  • 1 micros card (inside the mic) 8gb
  • 1 omni mic case 2 micro sds (2gb and 32gb)
  • 2 sd cards (128 gb each)
  • 1 gorilla pod
  • 1 pair of fox socks
  • 1 2 to 1 shoe
  • 1 pair of gloves
  • 1 medium packing cube
  • 1 pair of snow boots
  • 1 plastic bag
  • 1 usb outlet
  • 3 camera batteries
  • 1 camera battery charger
  • 1 camera battery charger box
  • 1 plastic bag for batteries
  • 12 AA batteries
  • 2 phone to tripod holders
  • 1 magic arm
  • 1 camera battery charger
  • 1 camera battery charger cable

When you’re a kid you like the playground. Then as a late teen its boring. You move on to video games. Maybe in your early 20s its all about clubs and bars. Then after a few years that gets boring as well. I think exploring the world and traveling might be yet another step.

 

At a certain point you have to decide you are going to stay somewhere and build up a life instead of trying to find one. They are both important to self-development, but you cannot do both at the same time.

Explore and find a life versus building one yourself

Two roads

I have now settled down in Brooklyn. I’m most happy not having to deal with the car anymore.

My old car

 

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