When I walk through my room I can hear the echoe of my steps. All of my cosmetic products fit in my hands and I keep my jewelry, hair ribbons and hair pins in a coconut shell. I really minimalized my possessions during the last year and I don‘t own a lot of stuff anymore.
It was a great decision to have a minimalist lifestyle and I did not regret it one single day. I really like the vast space around me, the fact that I can travel and rent out my room and most important – that I don‘t feel that attached to stuff anymore. The moment I stopped caring about things, I started to feel very free. Since I don‘t have a lot, I don‘t need to worry about loosing anything. I don‘t need to compete with people, who have a lot. That takes a lot of social pressure off my back and gives me the headspace I need, to focus on the stuff that has real importance in my life. Like learning languages, spending quality time with my friends, becoming a better mover, traveling to new countries.
Still, there are some things, that I would not get rid off. The following items rank high!
I never thought about minimalists quitting their bank accounts, until one minimalist in a German Facebook group suggested it. No matter, how reduced you want to live: A bank account makes a lot of things easier. Depending on where you live, it is necessary, to have a bank account. A good example is Sweden where people usually don‘t use any cash. It started, when I entered the bus, that connected the airport with the city centre. I had to pay my ticket with a card, since they don‘t allow any payments with cash.
The same thing goes for bills concerning my house such as electricity or gas. In Portugal, it is possible to pay them with cash, which means spending some hours per year in a queue. Since time is my most valuable resource I prefer not to waste it on un-necessary things. In other countries it might not even be possible, to pay bills with cash. Besides that a bank account is required, if you want to purchase things online (yes, crypthoheads – there might be other ways as well).
I also didn‘t have a bank account for some month during my time in Portugal, since I cancelled my German account before opening a new one. It was possible to live without one but meant, that friends had to help me out, whenever I expected a transfer or wanted to do a transaction. Since I don‘t want to be a minimalist, who takes advantage of other people, I prefer to have my own bank account. Also getting back into the financial system in another country gave me a hard time, since the bank needed an account from my country of origin as a reference. Here is my advice: If you want to travel, move to another country and keep some sort of independence – keep your bank account!
I am a so called digital nomad and I basically work from home. My computer is my office, my creative space, the place, where I do accounting and it is my home-entertainment. There is no way I would stop having a computer, even if I would live in a cabin in the woods. It is very convenient to edit photos, write articles and more effective than using a lot of paper notebooks. I didn‘t have a computer for about one year (four years ago) and I compensated it by using my friends computer all the time. It was ok for the time being, but it didn‘t really allow me to work on a computer.
By the way: I don‘t mind living without a phone. I use my smartphone less than 30 minutes per day and I never buy mobile data. At the moment I just keep my phone, since electricity companies or doctors in Portugal ask for a Portuguese phone number, when I want to sign a contract. The same goes for my bank account. The Portuguese banking system requires a phone for every single transaction. I think there are ways, to connect a mobile number to a computer (in a way that you don‘t need an actual phone or provider). One problem, that I found during my research is the actual phone number. While signing up for a internet phone number, it is not possible to choose any specific area code. Since companies here require a Portuguese area code, I need to have a Portuguese phone number.
Food is more than fuel for me! It is my passion, my hobby and something, that gives me endless pleasure! I love collecting spices and herbs from different countries and my collection of grains could be in a museum of agriculture. I eat only two meals, but I want them to be great! Vegan, clean, local – the whole program! I don‘t mind spending time in the kitchen, since I find it really relaxing to cook and to make my food appear as pretty as possible.
The moment I moved out of my parents house I promised to myself, that I will eat as good as possible for the rest of my life. I don‘t see any reason, why I should eat things, that I do not love! Money is an issue for me and I would not eat raw cashews on a daily base. Still I try to eat as tasty and as fancy as possible! I have friends who have a minimalist lifestyle and a different point of view regarding this subject. They cook a big portion of food and freeze it. They eat the same for five days and save a lot of time and money. Additionally it is better for the planet, to use less gas, water and electricity, than i do. I completely understand the point, but that is just not for me.
That was my short list of essentials, that I need for my minimalist lifestyle ! What are the things, you would not declutter, reduce or even get rid of?
I am Julia, vegan by heart, traveler and minimalist based in beautiful Portugal. I love simple but delicious food, ashtanga, skating, surfing and having a nice conversation over snacks and a glass of wine. I am blogging about vegan food, my minimalist journey, life hacks and my experiences as a traveler.