I always owned only things I consider as essential. My definition of ‘essential’ was a bit looser than my current use of the term ‘essential’, so I used to own a lot more things than now, especially paper books.
My current criteria for something being ‘essential’ in this case is whether I use it on a regular basis – perhaps once a day, or at least every three day. Although there are some exceptions, everything else must go.
Right now, I can put everything I have into one small backpack (approx. 35l) and one messenger bag (approx. 20l). The things that occupy the largest space in my backpack are my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu uniforms. If I didn’t carry them, I think I would be able to travel only with one messenger bag.
I prefer to be a lightweight person in this sense rather than having so many things and living in clutters, because I find it more practical than the latter option.
Here’s some of the practical advantages that come to my mind now.
1. It’s easier to manage your belongings. 50 things vs. 500 things? Managing 50 things is much easier than 500 things.
2. It’s easier to carry them around. I see a number of travelers with gigantic backpacks. I wonder what they carry with themselves. I know these backpacks must be really, really heavy, though.
3. It’s easier to check in for a flight and you don’t need to wait for your bags at the destination. You don’t need to worry about them being lost either.
4. Life becomes simpler. I wash my clothes when I take a shower. You don’t need to use a washing machine as often as you might have before. Also, I only have a few options to choose from when it comes to choosing what to wear. Letting go of a collection of clothes might be hard for fashionistas, but I bet you can be more creative when you have limited resources as well.
5. It’s easier to focus on more important things in life than managing when you don’t have to worry about managing things you own or getting things you don’t really need.
6. You’d probably save some money as well, because if you choose to live with essential things and stick with that plan, it’s consistent for you to ask this question: do I really need this thing I want to purchase or to get?
Sure, you might not travel often, but 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 still apply to non-travelers as well.
I say being a lightweight person allows you to improve the quality of your life by getting these 6 advantages. There could be more advantages. It’s a champion life style, my friend.
Here, I wonder. What would be disadvantages of living like a lightweight champion? For myself, I can’t think of any disadvantage, because I enjoy living a minimalistic life. Can you think of any disadvantages?
If you are curious and want to live like a lightweight champion, here’s an experiment you can do. Choose what you think is essential in your daily lives and live with these items for a month. You can put everything else away in a closet or something. Grab a small backpack, if you have one, or a big garbage bag, and put what you chose in it. If the chosen items fit in it, that’s great. If not, you need to think about what to go in the bag again.
Give it a go and I’m looking forward to hearing how you went with this experiment.