I have pretty much been a minimalist but I want to outline some steps if you were thinking about doing this. Many people have asked me how to do it and I will share some of my steps here. It is very liberating and very relaxing. In this article I am going to limit the topic to if you are single. Next week I will talk about ways to become a minimalist if you are in a relationship.
- Sell everything you own that doesn't own you
This is a tough one but a must. What I have found is that stuff that you own, really owns you. I mean that it has some sentimental value to you and that is why you don't want to get rid of it. (My grandma bought me that, my dad gave that to me before he passed, my ex bought me that a year before we broke up). You hold onto it because it has some "meaning" to you. The fear that many people have is that if you get rid of those things in your life, your life will have less meaning and nothing could be further from the truth. Its the things that you are holding on to so dearly that are keeping you from being free.
2. Get rid of your house or apartment and live out of your car.
This one drives people nuts. “How in the world do I get rid of my apartment? I have all my stuff in it?” See point 1. When you really think about your space, how much do you need? Yes you have become accustomed to your space, but do you really need it? Financial experts recommend that you spend no more than 30% of your take home pay (after taxes) on a place to live. That means if you are spending $1634 a month on rent (average in san diego) You should be netting about $5500 a month. If your car note is say at worst, $600 a month, that is $7200 a year for rent and you can sleep anywhere you want (except LA, they have a ban on sleeping in your car on residential streets from 9am to 6am. (it is still generally acceptable to sleep in your car if you’re not actively driving, trespassing or inebriated (you could be charged with DUI even if you’re sleeping and the car is parked-Don’t Drink and sleep in your car EVER). You will save $12,108 a year. As a single person what would you do with that money? Pay off debt? Go on vacation? The choice is yours. Sleeping in your vehicle is not the most uncomfortable way to sleep and if you don’t like it, buy a tent and a sleeping bag. :-)
3. Get a gym membership.
Don't go overboard with this one. I have a membership at a gym for $20 bucks a month and I can go and work out and shower up afterwards. I have the freedom to shower twice a day. I recommend 24 hour fitness because there are hundreds of locations. You can do planet fitness as they are growing by leaps and bounds and at last check had over 1,400 locations. It is not as convenient as your apartment shower and keeping your stuff out. You have to learn to live out of backpacks and duffel bags. Its not impossible, just different. You will grow used to planning your days the night before and getting everything ready for the day before you sleep. Its efficient and easy. This will also keep you from being lazy.
4. Get 2-3 good quality bags.
I have 3 bags, 2 back packs and duffel bag. I keep them in the back of my car neatly packed and ready to move at a moments notice. I plan out what I am going to wear and lay it out the night before. I go to the gym in the morning, workout and then shower and then head out. I sleep on about 5-6 hours of sleep a night. You will find your routine. I will tell you the first few nights sleeping in your car will be an adjustment, but you will be fine. (People in India sleep on the streets or in their rickshaws and they are still happier as a whole than we are). If you don't like the idea of keeping your bags in your car, you can get a storage unit. I have found units as low as $45 a month with 24 hour access.
5. Get rid of conventional thought and be willing to hustle.
This is a tough one. We think we "should be" living in an apartment, or we "should be" living in a nice home and unfortunately those things aren't guaranteed to us. Yes they are awesome, but there is no manifesto that says you will have those things. When you learn that change is an absolute part of life, you are able to adapt much better. My life has done a 180 from a year ago and it was tough, but it was more difficult curtailing my thoughts that were lying telling me I was entitled to something. I hate to burst the bubble but that is a myth.
As much as I hate the word hustle, I think we live in an economy where you must do EXACTLY that. Stop thinking you are going to hold out for your dream job. It doesn't exist. Take a job, any job and kick ass at it. Stop thinking the world owes you anything, because it doesn't. Don't take any part of your life for granted because you only have 1 of them. The old economy of working one job and living the way our grandparents or even parents lived is not really possible for this millennial and iGen. You WILL have to work multiple jobs in your life (unless your family is rich and/or you are taking over the business, or they are very old and about to bequeath the house to you). Working multiple jobs will be the requirement of this next generation. There is no getting around that (thank companies like Uber and lyft for that---The convenience of the service and the low cost to use comes at a price).
Be thankful for the friends that offer you a couch when they can. Take up house sitting and live in different locales weekly. Be grateful for the coffee, or meal that someone buys you and most of all enjoy the hell out of the ride. Remember: This whole thing is an adventure, not a promise. Live well!
Until next time...