Originally Posted by uniquepattern
So what lead you to try the minimalist lifestyle in the first place, if you don't mind my asking? Have you found any difficulties you didn't anticipate?
Good question. Probably an accumulation of things. Disclaimer, I'm no writer like Mississippi man but I'll try and circle back for corrections at a later date.
Poor growing up and warehouse jobs when I was 19 made me hate life so much I was forced to come up with alternative solutions. I got a loan for IT certification and quit my job. I drove a Geo metro on fumes to school and back but I told myself I could do better if I put a bunch of batteries in this thing and did find an article on how to do so in 2001 but I didn't have the cash. However, I realized then that the idea of reducing expenses outweighed creating more income (because I had none). Due to my moving around and bumming at my friends, having stuff was not an option. In fact, stuff would have prevented me from moving freely at the time.
I finally got a real job at 24 and tried real estate after reading a Rich Dad book. I remember a line that said once your passive income exceeds your expenses, you're technically rich. Playing cash flow, you can beat the game every time and exit the rat race if you start as the blue collar rat. (because he has no expenses). The lawyers and such require way more turns thus reinforcing the idea that reducing expenses is as valuable as creating more income.
Currently drive an electric car and I don't pay for electricity. My 500 sqft condo is free/clear. I typically take long sabbaticals on very little savings. However, while unemployed, I was reminded that my 5.1.4 system and clutter was weighing me down keeping me feeling the anxiety of outlasting my cash reserves. Only when you're unemployed do you look at your stuff and ask yourself, why did I buy that? I could survive for an entire year off the money I put down on my home theater system.
I realized the less stuff, the more flexible I am to pick up and leave on retreats knowing that I don't have stuff dragging behind, depreciating, sucking the energy out of wallet (literally things are energy hogs)
When you get older, you experience the death of those you care about and you look at their belongings and stuff they cared so much about and held close but will now end up in a dumpster. You aren't taking it with you when you die. I quickly digitized everything after some of these thought experiments and was able to emotionally detach myself from things that I previously identified myself with. Books also reinforced this idea.
Now a few subjective tidbits. My friends Onkyo/Klipsch setup blew my separates away. Room correction and processing is more effective than expensive metal. I downsized again and again without losing much audio quality. Plus I read all the Richard Clark challenges, coat hanger tricks etc and realized I was a victim of marketing
That being said, I want to mention that even though less is more, it doesn't mean you have to go cheap. Minimalism isn't about saving money although that's an extra benefit. You can have the things that add value to your life while realizing that maybe you don't need all 6 television sets, cable or sentimental items packed away never to be seen again. One way that helped me reduce clutter was to count my items, not like a contest to see how little I can own but to analyze something in your hand asking yourself a few questions. 1) Why do I need this 2) Does it add value to my life. 3) Do I need it or want it 4) Can I borrow it from someone in the future or perhaps rent it i.e. special tools you use once every 5 years. I was surprised how much stuff I was able to throw away and had fun doing so. I'm still into home theater, I'm just trying to get there from a different angle.