My Unintentional Minimalism in 2016 and Getting Rid of the What-ifs

I’m attempting to bring my blog back from the dead and wanted to kick it off with talking about how I’ve minimized my life through 2016. This photo is of my basics, which I lived off of for over 3 weeks in Atlanta and New Orleans.

Lots of Interest in Minimalism

I’ve written about a lot of different things in 2016, but the topic that seems to come up the most in conversations with people is that I’m living out of a backpack. Minimalism, which is apparently a popular thing, has become something that I just naturally started doing thanks to traveling. But, the more I’ve thought about it, minimizing has always been in my life and something I wanted to do, I just never really listened to it until I had to.

It’s Not Just Getting Rid of Everything

The most important thing about minimalism that I’ve learned over the last year while traveling around is it’s not about just about getting rid of stuff, although that’s what it’s most known for. Minimizing is actually more about getting rid of things that don’t add any real value to your life, which maximizes your ability to think about other things that are much more important.

In my case, I don’t have to worry about paying for a car anymore, which also means I don’t have to worry about parking it, keeping the plates updated, paying for insurance, and anything else that goes along with it. Getting rid of my car not only freed up money for me, but it also freed up my mind to spend time thinking about other things I actually cared about.

Killing the What-ifs

Minimizing also means getting rid of the things that fall into the “I might need this if…” category, which I call what-ifs. For example, I didn’t really need a car when I was in San Francisco, but what if I needed to take a weekend trip out of the city or had to buy groceries at Trader Joes? It’s these types of use cases that I didn’t actually do very often that kept my car around as long as it was. For some reason they provided enough what-ifs to make me feel like I just had to have a car, when in fact I would be fine without one and could have saved a lot of money and worrying.

Now, giving up these what-ifs can also create some situations that might seem uncomfortable, but in reality they’re not that big of deal. Not having a car meant that I would have to find other people who were going out of town on the weekends if I wanted to do that. It limited my independence, but actually helped me get closer to my friends and got me out of my bubble, which was nice. Not having a car also forced me into walking more and riding bikes around San Francisco, which I really enjoy even if they took a little more time. Me, like most people, just liked to always be in control and getting rid of my car took some of that away. A little shocking at first, but in the end, not a big deal.

Minimizing in 2017

In 2017 I’m going to continue to minimize and I’ll be talking more about that here on my blog (which I’m actively trying to bring back to life). I can tell that it’s a topic that many people are curious about and it’s fun for me to write about my experiences, so why not? If you have any specific questions you’d like to ask, feel free to let me know in the comments below or on Facebook. It’s always a work in progress for me, but I’m happy to share what I’ve learned so far.