It’s time to live the minimalist lifestyle. Are you ready?
What minimalism is and what it isn’t.
- Minimalism is about removing distractions and junks, so you have the time and money to do what you want in life.
- Minimalism isn’t a dick waving contest to see who has the least stuff
- It isn’t about decreasing your standard of living
... the era of rampant consumerism is coming to an end.
People are starting to see that buying things won’t make them happy, despite the advertiser’s best efforts. The 2008 global depression had people clinging tightly to their wallets.
Minimalism isn’t anything new: monks have been practicing it for centuries, except they call it “simple living”.
I stumbled upon minimalism by accident – I was watching a “medieval” Japanese film and noticed how minimalist their lifestyle was. The castle had minimal decorations, with no furniture in sight; people sat on the floor. At night, they would bring out futons from the closet to sleep on … very minimalist. They were the original minimalist gangsters.
I noticed I had too much stuff – old clothes, electronics, staplers and papers. Junk in the basement, junk in the garage, junk in every room.
… It was bullshit.
I had enough – it was time to do something about it.
I have been a minimalist for 7 years now, so here are tips and pitfalls I would like to share with you.
This blog post is a comprehensive guide to the minimalist life. After reading this, you won’t have to read another guide on minimalism again. Minimalism won’t solve all your life problems – but it will make your life a lot easier.
Let’s get started …
Step #1: Physically declutter your stuff down to 80 percent
Fun fact: Americans spend 24 billion dollars a year on rental space to store their stuff.
80 percent of the stuff you have, you don’t really need.
So, donate, sell and throw away the majority of your stuff!
Don’t know where to start? Donate your clothes first. The rule is simple: if you haven’t worn it in 12 months, donate it. The first 10 items you donate is the hardest – then it only gets easier from there.
I donated all my books!
It was overwhelmed donating all my books (I had spent nearly $500+ on it) … but I will never sit around re-reading the books, so what’s the point of keeping it? My book collection was replaced by an e-reader.
I started decluttering my wardrobe, then the books, then shredded the useless documents, then slowly donated/trashed the junk around the home. It was exhausting.
… yet it was a liberating feeling, as in, “why do I have so much useless shit?! I am free now! Ha ha ha!”
So here’s the action plan for you, my comrade:
1. De-clutter your wardrobe.
The majority of people are guilty of having too many clothes — myself included (until I found minimalism). Old clothes, donated clothes, clothes you had not seen in years. It’s time to throw away clothes you don’t wear!
That’s why I suggest de-cluttering your wardrobe first.
The goal is to discard all of your crappy clothes, leaving behind only the best, so you can look good every day (people will admire and compliment you!)
I made the mistake of buying too many clothes. It was nice clothes from Zara.
I had 6 pair of jeans but I only wore my favorite jeans most of the time. So what did I do? I gave away the rest of the jeans.
2. Convert all your physical media into digital. Movies, photos, books, paper documents. Store it into 2 USB drives.
I took pictures of the love letters and discard the physical copy; it was a strange feeling, I admit.
I threw all my dvd discs into the garbage, even my favorite movies. Life is too short to sit around re-watching old movies.
… I gathered all the “sensitive but I don’t need it anymore” documents to the park and lit the pile on fire!
I bought 2 USB drives from Wal-Mart. Everything is copied twice and (some stuff) are stored on the cloud. I don’t want to store my home made porn videos on the cloud.
3. De-clutter the living room, kitchen, bath room and closets.
Ruthlessly discard what you don’t need. I threw away extra dishes and cups, broken furniture, out dated electronics, cables and wires, fridge magnets, you name it.
Junk, begone! The end result? Liberation. It’s an amazing feeling. I felt like an enlightened man, instead of a hoarding rodent. It took about 3 months of through de-cluttering to finally say: “Yes! I’m done!”
It may seem overwhelming at first but a couple hours every weekend adds up. Nowadays? Excluding furniture and kitchen stuff, all of my personal belonging fits in a backpack.
(I’m so obsessed with minimalism that I spent 5 hours reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo to learn from the Japanese minimalist master)
- “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo
Step #2: Distractions, go away – save 25 hours of your week doing this
According to a 2015 survey, the average American watches 5 hours of TV per day, or 25 hours a week.
The average person vegetates in front of the TV, distracting themselves into old age.
It’s understandable, considering their average day:
Wake up early, get stuck in traffic jam. Go to work for 8 hours, stuck in an office with people you don’t really like. Work for a boss, thus making him richer. Get stuck in traffic jam, again. Get home. It’s exhausting. Well, it’s time for mindless entertainment as a reward.
To become an uber human, you don’t have the luxury to watch TV. “Today, do what others won’t, so tomorrow you can live how others can’t.” I wasted away my teens playing video games instead of chasing girls or reading books. I regret it to this very day. Time that will never come back …
On a related note:
“Yeah … but time enjoyed isn’t time wasted”, said a fellow acquaintance at the poker table. “[the walking dead] is just so exciting to watch, I watched all the seasons!” – yet, a few moments earlier he explained that he wants to lose weight but “I don’t have the time.”
Comrade, your life is an adventure in the making.
Let’s us break free from the chains of distraction (Hollywood films with the same old recycled plots, insta-gram pictures of women showing their ass cheeks in not so subtle ways etc) and embark our journey to greatness.
I deleted my Facebook 5 years ago, still feels good to this day. I recommend abstaining from all forms of media, aside from books and the documentaries. Sounds “extreme”? Yes. But then again, we’re on an important journey to become uber human.
It’s time to ditch most of your friends 😀
Let’s take a look at the average man.
- the average man earns $34,000 a year
- he sleeps with 9 women during his life time
- he is 5’9 and 175 lbs (read: overweight and skinny fat)
The path to become Uber Human is a narrow road, with few willing to climb. And to climb, you need to ditch most of your friends, who are stagnating. I made the mistake of trying to help my friend become better – until I realized he doesn’t want my unsolicited help.
Unless they ask, never give them self improvement advice (they will resent you for it, it’s a weird part of human nature) … slowly hang out with them less, as you crave time for yourself.
You need to be greedy with your time. You cannot afford to waste time on stagnating friends. Instead, seek mentors and higher status people through networking (like meetup.com and linkedin.com)
When you remove the massive think sinks (friends and TV), suddenly you have all this free time. It’s a scary feeling. The knee jerk reaction is to turn on the TV. Don’t. Your destiny to make a change in this world is waiting for you. Embrace the silence. Use the free time to improve yourself and make a difference in the world.
Your great destiny awaits you.
Step #3: Minimalist woredrobe
Remember Ed Hardy t-shirts and pink polos? Fads come and go, but timeless fashion is forever. I recommend a “wardrobe capsule”.
What I recommend:
- 3 dress shirt
- 3 slim fit t-shirts
- 2 blazers
- 1 coat for cold weather
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 dress pants
- 1 trouser
- 1 pair of shorts
- 3-7 underwear, 5 pairs of socks
- 1 pair of dress shoes, 1 pair of running shoes, 1 pair of boots, 1 pair of slippers
Since you’re buying less stuff, feel free to splurge on expensive items. I only shop from Zara and Uniqlo. Uniqlo is my favorite, since it’s inexpensive and form fitting. Zara is a hit or miss, in terms of style and quality.
I like being efficient. With less clothes, I don’t have to think what to wear.
According to a survey based on 2,500 women, the average woman spends 15 minutes every day deciding what to wear. Over the course of her lifetime, she’ll spend 265 days standing in front of the closet, deciding.
Tech titans like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same outfit every day – they know what’s up …
I recommend buying clothes that are tailored. I don’t have any authority on expensive name brands because I don’t buy them. Instead I stick to Uniqlo and Zara, which looks sharp in itself.
Got your favorite brand recommendation? Leave a comment below.
Step #4: Simplify your meals
Eating takes time – driving to the grocery store, waiting in line at the cashier, driving back home, cooking food then actually eating it.
Fun fact: During his life time, the average person will spend 2.5 years cooking and 3.5 years eating
You can get a lot of stuff done with 6 years.
This works for me:
1. Buy grocery once a month. Buy copious amount of meat, frozen vegetables and fruits and throw it into the freezer. Stock up on staples like rice, pasta, lentils, nuts. Go shopping on Monday, less people in the store.
2. Crock pot is the lazy man way of cooking nutritious meals. A crock pot slowly cooks the meal over 4-6 hours.Imagine cooking chili or a whole chicken. Throw that stuff into a crock pot, click a button and wait 6 hours.
Read a couple of crock pot recipes and you’re going to go.
In America, the obesity cost between $145 to $210 billion dollars a year — you can buy a lot of cheese burgers with that money.
Who’s to blame?
It’s a mixture of ignorance and submitting to gluttony. Eating out is easier then cooking your own food, especially when the restaurant serves food that are fat and salty. Yum!
… moving on.
Step #5: Cut your hair, look good all the time
Assuming you cut your hair once a month and the haircut cost $25, over 10 years you’ll spend $3000. You’ll also spend 120 hours traveling back and forward.
In contrast, cutting your own hair takes 15 minutes and you’ll only spend the initial cost of $35 for a hair clipper.
My pet peeve is going to the barber shop.
I have to drive there, wait in line, look at other men getting their hair cut. Then the barber makes small talk, cuts my hair, I drive back home with an itchy neck, then I take a shower. That’s about 90 minutes of wasted time.
Eight years ago, I decided to cut my own hair.
I bought a $35 hair clipper from Wal-mart. At first, the haircut was shitty. I had to shave my head, twice. After a bit of practice and youtube video for guidance, now I cut my hair like a pro.
It takes about 15 minutes to cut my hair and 1 minute to clean up.
Now it’s your turn to cut your hair. I recommend ordering a hair clipper from Amazon and go from there. There isn’t any particular brand I recommend, any thing that is $35 and up is good enough.
Perfect takes practice, right? Practice a bit more and before you know it, you’ll look forward to haircut day. Good luck with your haircut, comrade.
Step #6: Minimalist traveling
I vacationed in Asia for 2 months with a small shoulder back pack. Here’s what I packed: 2 t-shirts, 1 dress shirt, 1 blazer, 1 shorts, 1 pair of formal shoes, 1 pair of running shoes, 1 pair of trouser, 1 pair of slippers, 2 hi-tech underwear, laptop, cell phone, e-reader, money, toilet kit stuff.
With the items above, I went hiking up Japan’s mountains. Went to the night clubs and bumped short Japanese girls. Sat around in the beach drinking Sapporo beer. Lifted weight with sumo wrestlers.
My friend was in disbelief and thought I was joking when I said I only bought a small back pack during our 10 day trip in Macau. “You’re kidding me right? Yo, stop joking around. Where’s your stuff?!”
Here are little things I highly recommend:
- sleeping mask
- ear plugs
- adapter plug (I made the foolish mistake of going to Japan without one!)
- 8 liters dry sack (for washing clothes)
I recommend Exofficio underwear – it’s some space aged, high tech material that is so comfortable on your crotch. You can hand wash and it dries in a couple hours. Uniqlo “Airism” sub-brand is cheap and hi-tech. It dries out really fast too.
Give minimalism travel a try. It’s really fun and stress free. No more aching shoulders! No more lost luggage at the airport. Draw back: you have to wash your clothes more often (I wash it in a 8 liters dry sack)
There are no rules for minimalist traveling. Experiment and see what works for you.
Hopefully, in the future, young back packers will ditch their NASA rocket sized bags and go for something lighter.
Embrace the minimalist lifestyle – it’s your God given rights
On the surface level, it seems like minimalism is a dick waving contest of who has the less amount of stuff. Or maybe it’s a fad, like collecting beanie babies or rims on wheels.
Upon deeper digging, it’s about removing bullshit of what doesn’t matter – so you can have more time and money to yourself. It’s about improving your quality of life.
To me, the minimalist life is about more fun, more time, more money. Less drama, less stress, less advertisement.
To become free from the shackles of mindless entertainment and do meaningful work, before your time on Earth runs out.
It’s about getting more out of life, as oppose to the bullshit consumerism lifestyle that marketers had us believing, for the past 60 years. As more people embrace minimalism, companies that make inferior products will weep as their profit sink.
Your minimalism journey starts today. A year from now, you’ll be glad you did.
Best of luck to you.
PS: Leave a comment on your minimalist progress below.