Living with Less

Minimalism is asking ‘Why?’ before you buy.”

Francine Jay

I’ve written and spoken quite a bit about my journey towards minimalism.  I have over the past year and half radically changed my life; with these changes all culminating in me packing up my life to travel the world full-time.  There is no doubt that minimising my life has been a crucial ingredient to successfully make the transition to a nomadic life.

It’s now been almost three months since I packed up my home and sold many of my prized possession.  All I have with me now is what fits in the limited space of my travel bags.  I have had to select my travel items with conscious care, which meant evaluating each item carefully and weighing up the value it adds to my life against the value-cost of something ese being left behind.

The truth is that until I hit the road, the urgency to minimise wasn’t there, so I certainly lived with many more things than I actually needed.  Minimalism was always more of a goal than an actual lifestyle.  But now that I am forced into the lifestyle in order to realise my dreams, I can honestly say that it would be difficult for me to go back.

I no longer experience the level of stress associated with owning stuff that I had in the past.  There is an incredible freedom when you are unattached.  I do still have a few items in storage back home; and my regret is that I didn’t let go of those too; as I really would be totally stress-free now.  My bank account is also really happy – I’m not paying off debt towards my stuff; or making insurance payments to protect the stuff; which means I can better spend that money on life-changing experiences on the road.

Most importantly I have so much more time.  And let’s face it we can’t really put a value on how important our time is to us.  I no longer suffer through the indecision of what to wear, since I only have a handful of items to choose from – and the irony is I am freer have less choice.  Simplifying my life has certainly amplified my quality of life.

Watch Episode 8 of The Flying Phoenix’s Weekly Facebook Live Broadcast where I interview the founder of The Freedom Fighter, Gareth Pickering, who is an advocate for minimalism.  Find out about some of the specific steps he took in his journey to minimalism and how it’s impacted his life.  (Due to technical issues at the time of broadcast, some of the audio isn’t clear.)

Top points from the broadcast

The benefits of minimalism include:

  • Clarity in decision-making; reducing decision-fatigue which comes from having to make decisions on menial issues like what to wear and what to eat, taking energy away from more critical decisions.
  • Become more conscious in purchasing behaviour and consumption; considering whether we really need something, and does it genuinely add value to our lives. Learning to purchase and consume with purpose.
  • Minimising not only leads to being materially conscious; but we become more conscious about how we spend our time and energy: e.g. what content are we consuming, is our “to do” list too long; which relationships are we investing our time into?
  • By cutting back we create space to invite the things that really add value to our lives.

How to get started on a minimalist journey:

  • Understand that there are no rules – your standards of minimalism do not need to meet a certain norm or what others are doing. It needs to work for you.
  • Become aware of yourself; how you consume; how you spend you time and energy; is it really adding the most value to your life?
  • Find the clutter in your life and start there by finding the rhythm that works for you:
    • It could be attacking everything at once and decluttering in one go
    • It could be doing it slowly over time, getting rid of only 5 things a day
    • It could be identifying a certain area and focussing only on that area for a week
  • If you’re in a relationship, do the journey together and make yourselves accountable to each other.
  • Once you’ve reduced, keep awareness around future purchasing so that you don’t go back to where you started.
  • The less you have, the more you realise the less you need.
  • Track and measure how you spend your money, time and energy. What is measured, improves.

Often, we lose the connection between how we earn our money and what is costs to spend it.  It’s good to think of the money we spent, not as money lost, but as time lost.  Every time I spend money, I lose the time it took to earn that money.  Since time is something that we can never get back, putting expenditure in that perspective shows the real cost of consumerism.

Remember it’s an ongoing journey.  When you reduce one area it opens up space for other areas to be reduced.  There’s always space for more awareness and consciousness.

The same applies to relationships; and learning to be conscious about which relationships we invest our time and energy into.  We often are chasing new relationships; whether it be finding out new best friend or meeting our soul mate; but what we often don’t realise is that if we do not let go of baggage from old/previous relationships we do not create the space to invite new relationships in to our life.

More about Gareth

Having spent 10-years building his own successful advertising agency in South Africa, Gareth sold the business in 2014 to travel the world.  He’s traveled to 35 countries and spends his time chasing his perfect day, and ticking off his bucket list.

Gareth setup The Freedom Fighter community in 2015 to connect people that followed him on his travels and that are looking to live more perfect days in their lives.  The Freedom Fighter serves as a vehicle to fulfil Gareth’s Life Purpose – “To live an inspiring life that through the creation and sharing of content, and inspire others to live an inspiring life of their own”.

His latest Freedom Fighter endeavour is The Ignite Program which is a 6-month masterclass to help anyone take an idea to fully launched online business.

His interests beyond The Freedom Fighter include, consistent exercise ranging from trail running, surfing, kitesurfing, yoga, CrossFit and triathlon. He is also the co-founder of Keep It On Core, one of South Africa’s first online Maths tuition platforms, that help high school students improve their mathematics online.

He believes that the two most important days of a person’s life are the day that they’re born and the day that they realise why they were born.

Where to follow him:

What are your thoughts?

I would love to hear from you.  What has your experience been with this topic?  Do you have some tips or strategies in addition to the one’s mentioned above?  Maybe you have a burning question?  Perhaps you have the solution to someone else’s question.

The best growth and learning comes from engagement and sharing, please comment below and share your thoughts, questions and personal experiences.


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